The announcement that Derby would be the home of headquarters of Great British Rail remains one of my favourite highlights of my time as the Member of Parliament for Derby North. The decision recognised Derby’s longstanding and well-established connections within the rail industry as well as our extensive cluster of dynamic private sector rail businesses. Furthermore, this decision was not just a sign of Whitehall’s confidence in the city’s potential but will also bring valuable new jobs and opportunities to the Derby.
To me, it is very exciting that here in Derby the largest package of reforms to the railways in 25 years will be facilitated. Moreover, our city will play a major part in improving a rail network that many of us rail users have become increasingly frustrated with – whether that be due to pricing, timetabling or strikes. It will end the fragmentation of the past and bring the network under single national leadership while enabling greater competition and simpler procurement than under the old franchise model.
I am aware that there has been speculation in the media and from some local politicians that the plan to bring the Headquarters to Derby had become in doubt. Of course, this concerned me, I am passionate about the opportunities this project could bring and I am extremely proud of everyone who campaigned tirelessly for the decision. Therefore, I have repeatedly raised the delivery of Great British Railways with Huw Merriman MP the Minster of State for Rail who is also very passionate about the proposals. My colleague is genuinely very supportive and is working very hard to deliver the reforms our railway needs.
In turn, during last week, I met the Rail Minister in his office in Westminster and asked him for his thoughts on the project and if he could reaffirm his commitment to Derby. I would encourage constituents and all those with an interest in rail policy to watch the extract of our discussion which I shared on my social media channels. My colleague patently reaffirmed Derby’s place in the future of our rail network and indicated that he has been working very closely with the Great British Railways Transition Team to ensure next steps can be taken as quickly as possible.
I will continue to campaign in Westminster for this project and, as ever, champion Derby to my ministerial colleagues. Derby is fantastic hub of entrepreneurship and innovation and I cannot think of a better location for Great British Railways to be successful.