Derby has been named as the national headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR HQ), marking a key milestone in the government’s plan to reform the nation’s railways. 

As Europe’s largest rail hub, Derby will soon become the heart of Great Britain’s rail industry too, bringing track and train together and delivering high-skilled jobs to a city already brimming with the best talent in the industry. 

Derby came top of all 6 excellent locations in both the rigorous assessment process and the public vote. Their application demonstrated strong links to the wider network, well-established connections with the industry, supply chain and customers, as well as an extensive local cluster of private sector rail businesses.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said:  


Hill Wooldridge & Co

It’s full steam ahead for the reform of our railways and today’s announcement is not only a huge win for the brilliant city of Derby, but a key milestone for the entire rail industry across the country.  

Great British Railways will put the passenger first, promoting collaboration and innovation across a joined-up, efficient and modern network.

Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said:

We’re absolutely thrilled that Derby has been selected to become the home of Great British Railways. This result is a testament to the hard work of our team, alongside our key rail and city partners based across Derby – we couldn’t have done it without them.

Rail heritage is at the heart of our city and for this to be recognised by government is a fantastic achievement. The investment we’ll see from this significant move will be huge, not only just for Derby but for levelling up across the whole of the wider East Midlands.

We have a rich history of being the only city in the UK to have manufactured rolling stock continuously since 1840, so I’m thrilled that Derby’s heritage is being recognised in this defining way. We can’t wait to see what this momentous move will mean for Derby and its citizens in the future.

While Great British Railway’s headquarters will be in Derby, other towns and cities across Britain, potentially including the 5 shortlisted cities, will still benefit, becoming powered up regional GBR hubs equipped with local decision making, and investment powers aimed at benefiting their local communities and further creating jobs in the locations they serve. 

GBR will also have roles spanning across Great Britain including the North, South East, South West and London, with the HQ driving collaboration and innovation across the sector.  


Pearl Assistance

The government is working closely and collaboratively with the Great British Transition Team to co-design the future of our railways. Passengers and freight customers will be GBR’s key priority, the new body will also take control of the industry’s finances to drive efficiency and work with the private sector to deliver for customers.  

Great British Railways will be locally led and will harness the potential of the private sector locally, regionally and nationally. 

Anit Chandarana, Lead Director, Great British Railways Transition Team, added:  

The announcement that Derby will be the home of the Great British Railways headquarters is another important milestone on our journey to create a simpler and better railway for everyone in Britain.  

Although Derby will be the home of our headquarters, Great British Railways will also introduce empowered regional centres, to bring decision making and leadership much closer to local customers and communities.    

The Transition Team is continuing to work with government and the wider rail industry to deliver this much needed reform and we look forward to working with colleagues in Derby in the coming months, too.

GBR’s Transition Team will now work with Derby to identify the site for the HQ within the city.

The Midlands is already a transport supercluster for Britain: with the Department for Transport and HS2 already having bases in Birmingham, bringing GBR’s HQ to Derby will be a further boost to the region’s transport sector and demonstrate our commitment to levelling up Great Britain. 


Patons Insurance

Today’s (21 March 2023) announcement follows on from the Transport Secretary’s George Bradshaw Address last month where he set out the government’s long-term vision for the future of the railways. Last month’s announcements included: 

  • the expansion of single leg pricing across the LNER network and demand-based pricing to ensure passenger demand is more evenly spread between services. 
  • an extension to pay-as-you-go ticketing in south-east England. 
  • creating a dedicated strategic freight unit tasked with setting a long-term freight growth target this year.