Make Crewe the home of Great British Railways

Crewe at the heart of rail

On 5 February, 2022, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launched a competition to find the location for the next Headquarters for Great British Railways (GBR).

At the time, he called on people across the country to ‘make the case for why the true home of the railways is on your doorstep’.

Locations across the countryOld photo of railwaymen with strong historical links to the railway have been encouraged to make the case for why they should be the new home of GBR , and the best applications will be shortlisted in May, after which a public vote will help determine the winning location.

This new central headquarters will be the heart of the rail network and provide strategic direction for the running of GBR .

Our bid and getting your support

We absolutely believe that Crewe is the best location for the headquarters of Great British Railways and, working with our partners, we have developed a strong bid for the town.

We submitted this to government on March 16, 2022. 

Crewe’s population is fiercely proud of the town’s railway heritage and a campaign – ‘Crewe - At The Heart of Rail’ – led by Cheshire East Council and supported by our partners, is underway to galvanise support for Crewe’s bid further. 

Here is a snapshot of the views of the people of Crewe explaining why it is an ideal location for GBR

Peter Graham, Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Freightliner Group Limited, said: “Crewe is an important hub for rail freight with many rail freight operators having operational bases here and all freight operators run services through the town.

“Therefore, it would be a real vote of confidence and support for the freight sector to base the GBR Headquarters in Crewe. Furthermore, as  GBR will be structured in five distinct geographic regions, it is important that the headquarters is seen to be independent of these regions, making Crewe a good candidate location because of its position in the country.” 

Pete Waterman, music producer, railway enthusiast and Cheshire East resident said: “When Lord Crewe sold a piece of land to the Grand Junction Railway in the 1830s, little did he or they understand the importance that Crewe would have in the industrial revolution.

“With its freight and passenger connections it has always been super connected. After years of no investment it still has the best connectivity outside of the Capital, and with HS2 it could lead to another chapter in the history of Britain with the  GBR HQ based here.”

Dr Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “When you combine Crewe’s rich rail history with its fantastic links across England and the Union – it’s not hard to understand why there is widespread community support for our bid for Crewe to host the  GBR headquarters.

“I have been contacted by a wide range of businesses, community groups and individual residents who passionately support our ambition. Residents understand the role the HQ can play in helping level up Crewe as it strives to fulfil its potential and spread opportunity across the town in the face of pockets of deprivation.

“Crewe is at the heart of rail and residents have seen first-hand the benefits the railway can have on a community and are eager to see further investment and levelling up as the hosts of Great British Railway headquarters.”

Peter Kanalos, a learner at Cheshire College – South & West, Crewe campus, said: “The railways play a major part in Crewe's history and the community today. This really would be a great thing for both business and will have a positive impact on the town.

“The railway plays such a major part of Crewe’s heritage and history, this opportunity would further strengthen the towns connection with rail transport and have a positive impact on the area and the community.”

Hear more from the people of Crewe  about why the town is the ideal location for  GBR and what Crewe’s railway heritage means to them.

Page last reviewed: 16 February 2022