Annex B - Great British Railways Headquarters – The Case for York

York and North Yorkshire are united - York is the ideal location for Great British Railways’ Headquarters. 

Our case is simple: 

·        York is ready – York has the sites and connectivity and feet on the ground to work now

·        York and the surrounding area is the future of the rail sector – we are already developing the diverse, skilled workforce the rail industry needs, driving innovation and responding to strategic challenges

·        GBR in York and North Yorkshire is Levelling Up – our connectivity, skills programmes and industry expertise brings opportunity for the North East, to level up across the North.

York is ready now.

York Central provides a unique opportunity to create a fitting new HQ on a city-centre brownfield site where Network Rail is a major partner and landowner.  Other available sites which also reflect the city’s rail history include Hudson Quarter, George Stephenson House, and West Offices (built 1841 as one of the first railway stations within a city) - all available immediately to provide flexible office accommodation.

Our regional rail industry employs 18,000 people across Yorkshire representing 14% of the UK’s rail industry, with the supply chain employing around 100,000 people.  We have strong rail sector specialisms in digitisation, signalling, telecoms and systems engineering, business and asset management, all key to the future of rail. 

Our rail workforce is young, skilled and diverse. Network Rail employs more than 1,000 people in York and has the country’s biggest rail control centre in the city and one of 12 digitised central signalling centres.  The breadth of York’s skills base, across rolling stock, engineering, planning and the digital future, means GBR will be more effective from the start.

York and the surrounding area is the future of the rail

York and the wider region has leading Universities within easy reach with strong innovation, research and teaching cohorts that have already responded to the engineering challenges set by HS2.  Our specialist rail capabilities are nationally significant, supported by a vibrant further education sector and great schools.  There are 13 leading education institutions within 1 hour of York.

In York, we are committed to developing an internationally renowned rail skills centre of excellence. York’s rail businesses are working with us to develop their workforce including social mobility. The White Rose University cluster includes significant rail expertise, while York is already home to Network Rail’s Operating and training centre, controlling train operations across the North of England.

GBR in York is Levelling Up

York and the wider region are already providing skills and work opportunities in areas of deprivation, with work programmes for veterans, ex-offenders and those who are NEETs and STEM programmes for schools and school leavers.  

York is at the heart of the UK rail network, equidistant between London and Edinburgh, with connections to Merseyside, Greater Manchester, and Leeds, and cross country links to Sheffield, Birmingham and the South West.   Within 1 hour of York, Tees Valley, Yorkshire Coast, West, North and South Yorkshire provides unrivalled scope for GBR and the rail industry to provide opportunities for northern residents, universities and businesses. 

Basing GBR in York demonstrates a strong commitment to levelling-up across the North East with Levelling Up priorities supported by world-leading companies and institutions.