‘Huge disappointment’ as Great British Railways plan delayed

Crewe was chosen as one of the six places short-listed to be the location of GBR’s headquarters

‘Huge disappointment’ has been voiced in Cheshire at the Government’s delay in creating Great British Railways (GBR). The new organisation was announced last year in a bid to modernise and simplify the country’s rail services.

A competition was subsequently launched to find a home for GBR’s headquarters, with cities and towns encouraged to submit bids. The contest was then narrowed down to Crewe, York, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and Birmingham.

But during Liz Truss’ brief tenure as Prime Minister, the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan admitted the project had been pushed back. She told the Transport Committee that ‘in effect’ the department had to ‘shunt ourselves six months backwards’.

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The revelation has caused frustration among many in Crewe. Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said he was ‘very disappointed’ at the delay.

He said: “From the very beginning of the competition to become the home of the Great British Railways headquarters we have put forward a compelling case for Crewe and championed its unrivalled credentials.

“It is a rail town through and through and is at the heart of the rail network, and Great British Railways would not only hugely benefit Crewe but the wider borough too.

“And so, we absolutely hope to see this legislation moving forward in the next parliamentary session – we still strongly believe that the town is the right and logical choice for GBR’s headquarters.

“But while we are disappointed with this delay, we will not let this set us back. We will continue to drive forward a positive future for the town, its communities, and Cheshire East as a whole, and explore ways to bring lasting change and investment to the area.

“I also take great pride in the efforts of the public and all our partners, stakeholders and businesses who have and continue to back Crewe for GBR. The passion that people have locally for rail and the town of Crewe is absolutely evident, and this is something we will continue to harness.”

Cllr Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, reaffirmed his belief that Crewe has ‘all the right ingredients for Great British Railways’. He added that the contest presents a ‘huge opportunity for the town and wider borough’.

He said: “The delay to the proposed transport bill is certainly not what we would wish to hear and will be a huge disappointment to all those who worked passionately to put forward such a strong bid for Crewe, and to those who took the time to pledge their support during the public vote.

“Crewe is a town which is synonymous with the railways, and that has absolutely shone through throughout this process. But while we await further news on Great British Railways, our long-term vision for Crewe and the wider area will remain as ambitious as ever, and we will continue to seek opportunities to ensure its continued and future growth and success.”

  • 10:14, 25 OCT 2022