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Crewe sets out its case for Great British Railways HQ at ministerial visit

Transport Cheshire East Council Infrastructure Investment 15/07/2022

People are being urged to vote for Crewe

Rail Minister Wendy Morton MP visited Crewe as the town showed why it is at the heart of rail and has the credentials to be the home of Great British Railways Headquarters. 

Today (July 15), the Minister visited Crewe to see some of the sites that are key to the town’s rail industry, including the Avanti Rail Academy, Locomotive Services and the location for the Crewe Hub Station where she had the chance to take part in a VR experience to see what the finished project would look like. 

The visit was the chance for Crewe to set out why it is the best location to be the home of Great British Railways – the new rail operator from 2023. 

Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Today was our opportunity to show everything that Crewe has to offer and I hope the Minister now sees how rail is right at the heart of Crewe and that Crewe is at the heart of the railways.  

“Our long history in rail, dating back 185 years means to this day we have the expertise, skills and infrastructure needed to make GBR a success.

“The likes of the Avanti Rail Academy and Locomotive Services show that while we are proud of this history, our connection to rail today is as strong as ever.”

The final decision on which town or city will be the home of the headquarters will be made later this year by the Secretary of State.

One factor that will be considered as part of the decision is a public vote, which is open now and people are being urged to vote for Crewe here. Crewe is one of six places to make the final shortlist alongside Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York. 

Dr Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “Today we set out our case for bringing GBR to Crewe. There’s few places in the country as closely linked to the railways as this one and I’m sure all of our passion for it shone through today. 

“Bringing GBR to Crewe is key for the town’s levelling up and while it would have huge benefits for the town, our strong connectivity would mean the benefits could flow out around the wider region and to the country as a whole.”

Cllr Craig Browne, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “I’d like to thank all of our partners who supported this visit. One of the things we have to offer to Great British Railways is the collaboration we have across the town when it comes to rail. It’s only with them we can show everything Crewe has to offer. 

“Rail is right at the heart of Crewe and bringing Great British Railways to the town would be a fitting next chapter in our rail story.”

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:  “This is fantastic news for Crewe. Our world-leading railways have well-served this country for 200 years and this is a huge step in our reforms.

“As one of the first railway towns in the world and proudly sitting on the HS2 route, Crewe has all the potential to help shape our network for the next 200 years and level up the lives of its residents and communities.

“Great British Railways will create a truly sustainable, modern and fair railway network for passengers and freight customers.

“I’m calling on people across the country to play a key part in this once-in-a-generation reform and vote for the new home of our railways.”

The public vote runs until 15th August 2022 with a final decision on the location for the headquarters later this year. You can vote for Crewe here and can back the bid by using #HeartOfRail on social media.