Council calls on Geordies to help bring Great British Railways HQ to Newcastle

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Newcastle is in the final six of 42 applications and the next stage is a public vote

Geordies have the ability to boost employment and business in Newcastle by bringing the Great British Railways headquarters to the city.

Britain's railways are embarking on a major reform with a new public body integrating the railways, owning infrastructure, collecting fare revenue, setting timetables and more.

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The body will be known as Great British Railways and authorities across the country were granted the ability to bid to bring the headquarters to their area.

Newcastle City Council submitted a strong bid alongside Invest Newcastle and, out of 42 applications, has been named in the final six.

Tyneside's rich railway heritage, strong national network links and public support have helped boost the bid to centre the body in Newcastle.

It is expected that the HQ would bring hundreds of jobs, as well as a greater say over railway development to the North East.

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The site is proposed to be built in the Stephenson Quarter, named after technological pioneers George and Robert Stephenson, and would involve the conversion of Grade II listed building The Pattern Shop into a 30,000 square foot office space.

The HQ could go in the Stephenson Quarter (Image: Adobe Stock)The HQ could go in the Stephenson Quarter (Image: Adobe Stock)
The HQ could go in the Stephenson Quarter (Image: Adobe Stock)

The next step in the process is a voting stage where the public can choose between Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, York and, of course, Newcastle.

Each member of the public gets one vote and the polls are open until Monday, August 15.

Whichever city comes out top won't necessarily be granted the Great British Railways HQ, but "the level of support for each place and will be considered as part of final decision making".

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Sam Cassidy, Investment Manager at Invest Newcastle said: “Our bid is robust, and we’ve identified specific sites within the city for Great British Railways to locate its headquarters. If our bid is successful, the establishment of the headquarters in the city would bring with it a significant number of jobs that will benefit the whole region.

“Sites at Stephenson Quarter and Forth Goods Yard are perfectly aligned to GBR requirements, whilst they also provide strong links to railway heritage. There is significant historical relevance and linkage between Newcastle and the railways, with the Stephenson Quarter site in fact the location of the North East railway pioneer Robert Stephenson’s company at the outset of the railway industry in Britain.”

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, added: “The North East was the birthplace of the railways – we sent locomotives all over the world from the Pattern Shop on Stephenson Quarter so what better place to locate the headquarters of Great British Railways?

“This would create hundreds of new jobs and attract all kinds of spin-off businesses breathing life into an under-used part of the city centre and giving it a bright new future with a welcome boost for the local economy.

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“Securing this national investment for Newcastle would be great for the region, bringing good quality jobs to the North East. With Invest Newcastle we are working hard to try and bring this home.”

You can vote for Newcastle to be the Great British Railways HQ here.

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