March 1, 2022 11.45 am

Bid to make Grantham the new HQ for Great British Railways

Council say it is in a strong position

County council bosses confirmed that Grantham will be the focus of a bid to host the new headquarters of the government’s Great British Railways (GBR) in Lincolnshire.

The GBR is being created as part of a series of reforms by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and aims to be “a single guiding mind that ends the fragmentation of the rail industry”.

It forms part of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and plans to decentralise a number of government organisations away from London.

Councillor Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council’s economy and environment portfolio holder, told the authority’s executive on Tuesday that the authority would be working with South Kesteven District Council on a joint bid.

“[Grantham]’s got a long railway heritage history,” he said.

“The railway came to Grantham in 1850, and in the 30s and 40s it was the absolute centre of the railway industry.

“60 of the biggest locomotives were based at the loco depot in Grantham, including the Mallard and The Flying Scotsman for a period of time.

“The location of Grantham 100 miles north of London, on the main line with the East West trajectory to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and the southeast, I think makes it a really strong location.”

“The landownership around the railway station, most of which is in the hands of national rail, makes it a perfect site.”

There will be a public vote on the shortlist of applicants, but Councillor Davie was confident Greater Lincolnshire would “get behind this”

The government says the chosen areas will see their local economies boosted by investment and be put at the heart of decision making.

Launching the competition in February, Mr Shapps said: “Our railways have kept this country moving for almost 200 years, but it’s time to kickstart a new age that will shape our network for the next 200,” he said.