Derby station 2

Agent to search for a property to house Great British Railways headquarters

Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) is launching a city-wide search in Derby to find the property that will house the Great British Railways (GBR) HQ.

A busy national headquarters will act as a hub for the wider rail industry, propelling innovation and new thinking. The search will build on GBRTT’s work with the City Council and local partners to define a shared vision for the headquarters since Derby was confirmed as the chosen city in March 2023, following a public competition.

Earlier this year the government published its draft Rail Reform Bill – the legislation needed to create GBR. When passed, it will bring together responsibility for both track and train in a single organisation, to make the railway simpler to use, more efficient to run and better for the country as a whole. The draft bill is now being scrutinised by Parliamentarians and industry. 

GBRTT is due to brief a specialist property agent on identifying a versatile location that will lend itself to bringing people together to work productively and innovate effectively.

Next week, it will also open a secondary Transition Team office in Derby. Establishing a footprint in the city now will help GBRTT to work ever more closely with private and public sector partners across the Midlands and beyond, as they help the sector to get ready for GBR.

Among other activities, GBRTT will use its new Derby office to host collaboration, engagement and innovation sessions with partners in the rail industry and beyond – as well as making it a core part of the team’s everyday operations. Located right next to Derby Railway Station, it will give staff more options to meet and work together in-person outside of London. 

GBRTT’s work with partners such as Derby City Council and Rail Forum has already been instrumental in helping define a shared vision for GBR’s headquarters that creates value for customers across the country, as well as for local communities in and around the city.

Paul Harwood, Director of Partners & Places at GBRTT, said: “Good ideas can come from anywhere, but innovation happens when people work together to put good ideas into practice. Our customers rightly expect a modern customer experience, while our funders expect efficiency, so rail must be open for business – ready to work with innovators to test new ideas at pace and to scale the pilots that work.

“We’re looking for a space that will ensure Great British Railways HQ is a catalyst for that vibrant, customer-first culture that will fan out from Derby.”

Notes to editors

  1. GBRTT will instruct the agent to plan on the basis that the HQ building would be needed between 2026 and 2027, depending on how swiftly legislation is able to be taken forward in the next Parliament. GBR will be created first and then, due to lead-in times, the HQ building itself will take a little more time to come into use.
  2. GBR will decentralise decision-making to ensure rail reform delivers for communities across Britain, with strong, empowered regions and a clear voice for local leaders.