We are bidding to host the HQ for the railways. Council press release:
County Durham’s illustrious rail heritage, thriving train building industry and pioneering cultural and economic ambitions make it the ideal home for the Great British Railways (GBR) headquarters.
RailwaysThat is our message, having submitted a bid to house the new national rail body in County Durham in conjunction with our quest to be UK City of Culture 2025.
The Government launched a competition to identify a location outside of London for the GBR headquarters last month, as part of its levelling up agenda. The winning location will benefit from investment and the creation of highly skilled jobs, helping to spread opportunities across the UK.
Towns and cities with strong links to railways have been encouraged to enter the competition and, for County Durham, there is no shortage of connections. Not only is it home to Shildon, the world’s first railway town, but it is a major player in the future of the industry, with the next generation of high-speed trains being built at Hitachi Rail Europe’s Newton Aycliffe factory.
Locomotion museum in Shildon, meanwhile, tells the story of County Durham’s role in the early development of the railways and attracts visitors from around the world. And thanks to a £5.9m redevelopment, it will soon house the largest museum collection of historic rail vehicles in Europe.
The creation of GBR comes at a special time for County Durham and the wider region. Preparations to mark the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025 are well underway. Steam train journeys, exhibitions, parades and arts and theatre events are just some of the highlights in store.
County Durham’s rail heritage is also an important theme within Durham’s countywide bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. Earlier this month, the county was one of just four locations to be shortlisted for the prestigious title from the 20 places that applied.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We believe County Durham would provide the perfect home for GBR and that this offers a brilliant opportunity to build on our historic links to the rail industry.
“The timing of the competition could not be better for County Durham, with our bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 still very much on track. Together with our partners at Durham University and Culture Durham, the bid draws upon our rail heritage – and the spirit of innovation at its core – to champion growth and creativity.