Launch photo at Crewe Station 570 x 310

Sport and culture unite to bring Great British Railways to Crewe

5 August 2022

Crewe is gearing up for a Big Rail Weekend as part of its bid to bring the Great British Railways headquarters to the town. 

On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August, football and the arts will unite to deliver a bumper weekend of activities to back the bid and encourage as many people as possible to vote for Crewe. 

On Saturday, Crewe Alexandra Football Club will be running a special halftime screening of the Crewe Heart of Rail film at their first home game of the new season against Harrogate. The film, which premiered on YouTube this week, tells Crewe’s compelling rail story through the voices of people from across the town. 

Crewe-born poet, Gareth Williams, will also be delivering an exclusive reading of his new, original poem Home Is Where The Heart Is at Waterstones in the town centre. Written in honour of the GBR bid, the poem explores Crewe’s position at the heart of British rail, which makes it the perfect location for the new headquarters.

On Sunday, Crewe Market Hall will be hosting an afternoon of entertainment through a Rail Idol talent competition, judged by legendary music producer and rail enthusiast, Pete Waterman OBE. Inspired by Pete’s famous early 00s show, Pop Idol, the competition will feature music, dancing, comedy, and poetry from a raft of Crewe-based artists. Food and drink will also be on offer from the market’s traders. 

Crewe is one of six shortlisted locations vying to become the home of Great British Railways, a new public body that will have responsibility for owning Britain’s rail infrastructure, collecting fare revenue and running the network. A public vote will play an important role in determining which of locations will become the home of GBR. Crewe is the only town on the shortlist, and the only place in the North West, making it doubly important for people to vote before the deadline of 15 August.

Pete Waterman OBE said: “As a Cheshire resident and rail lover, I’m proud to be backing Crewe’s bid by resuming my Pop Idol judging role at this weekend’s Rail Idol competition. 

With a fantastic line-up of talent, it’s set to be a great day. Come down and join us, and don’t forget to show your support for Crewe’s bid by voting!” 

Charles Grant, Crewe Alexandra FC chairman, said: “If you blast one over the bar at Crewe, it lands on a train and ends up in Glasgow – and that’s always been the way it is. We live cheek by jowl with the railway, making Crewe the ideal place for the Great British Railways headquarters.

“We urge all Crewe Alexandra’s supporters to get behind Crewe’s bid and cast their vote. Let’s bring GBR home to Crewe, just like we’ll be hoping to bring it home on the pitch on Saturday.” 

Gareth Williams, Crewe-born urban poet, said: “Rail is at the heart of Crewe – it’s in our veins. As the only town to be shortlisted, some people think we’re the underdog – but the people of Crewe should not be underestimated. We have the grit, passion and determination to bring GBR to Crewe and the skills and experience to really seize the opportunity. We punch above our weight for a northern town so, let’s all get voting and make it happen.”  

Cllr Laura Crane  223x280Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council, vice-chair of the highways and transport committee, added: “It’s fantastic to see sport and business coming together to support our bid and celebrate our town’s rail connections with a weekend of fun activities. The way the whole community has got behind Crewe’s bid is so inspiring and sends a clear message to the government and Great British Railways will receive a warm welcome in Crewe.

“With the rail industry, businesses culture and cross-party politicians across the North West also lending their support, we’re making a strong case for why we’re the natural home for GBR - but we still need your help. Please do vote for Crewe before the public vote closes on 15 August.” 

You can vote for Crewe to become the home of Great British Railways.   

The Big Great British Railways Weekend full programme:

  • Saturday 6 August, 1–2pm, Waterstones, Crewe – join local poet, Gareth Williams, at an exclusive reading of a new, original poem about Crewe’s rail heritage and why it’s the best place for GBR.
  • Saturday 6 August,  3–6pm, Crewe Alexandra Football Club – watch the Railwaymen take on Harrogate at their first home game of the new season. There will be a special halftime screening of the Heart of Rail film and the Railwaymen Supporters Club will be handing out QR coded leaflets so that the expected 3,500 spectators can vote there and then for Crewe. 
  • Sunday 7 August, 1–4pm, Crewe Market Hall – enjoy the Rail Idol talent competition, judged by Pop Idol legend Pete Waterman OBE and grab a drink and a bite to eat from the markets' traders.