New Great British Railways headquarters could soon be coming to West Yorkshire

Wakefield could soon be home to the newly-formed Great British Railways.

By Richard Beecham
Monday, 21st March 2022, 4:30 pm

Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority have submitted a formal bid to become the new national headquarters of the organisation, which will oversee rail transport in Britain from next year.

The bid claims Wakefield and West Yorkshire’s "strong pool of talent, location and railway heritage", make it the ideal home for GBR.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Our region played a significant role in the birth of commercial rail in the UK, so I am happy to support Wakefield’s bid to be the headquarters of Great British Railways.

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The proposed site of the HQ could be next to Wakefield Westgate station. (Pic: Simon Hulme)

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“It will also give West Yorkshire a powerful voice in setting the national agenda for rail travel and support my priority to improve rail across the region and ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.”

From 2023, Great British Railways will be a state-owned public body overseeing rail transport in Great Britain. It will operate rail infrastructure, control the contracting of train operations, set fares and timetables, and collect fare revenue in most of England.

More in transport: Cuts to Leeds - Harrogate train services from this May 'will cause major gaps', claims council leaderIn October, the Secretary of State for Transport announced a competition to find a suitable location for Great British Railways outside of London.

The bid proposes the planned office redevelopment on the grounds of Westgate rail station in the heart of Wakefield city centre as GBR’s new headquarters. This would mean close access to the East Coast Mainline, meaning direct links to London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield.

The location of the headquarters for Great British Railways is a flagship investment by UK government and provides a once in a generation opportunity to level up towns and cities in the North.

If Wakefield is successfully shortlisted in May, the public will then have the opportunity to cast their vote for Wakefield as their preferred location.