Morecambe MP backs Carnforth as he holds railways debate in Westminster

Morecambe MP David Morris has hosted a debate in Westminster to put on record the case for Carnforth to be the new HQ for Great British Railways.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 10:19 am

The competition to host the new HQ for Great British Rail is currently open for its first round where areas are being invited to bid for why their area should host the new headquarters.

The initial application process closes today, Wednesday March 16, and a shortlist will then be drawn up and a public competition launched to choose the winner.

Mr Morris said: “This is a competition and, in that spirit, I want to put on the record why I think it should be Carnforth.

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Carnforth Station and Visitor Centre.

“The location and geographical area of Carnforth means it is centrally placed in the UK, connecting north, south, east and west by rail.

"The community has facilities to host the new headquarters, such as hotels, and direct access to the city of Lancaster and to Morecambe, which is soon to be the home of the prestigious Eden Project.

"I am involved in developing this application with Carnforth Town Council, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, which is assisting with information, Carnforth & District chamber of trade, Lancaster Civic Vision, the whole community, cross-party, of the Lancaster district, and the great people of Carnforth and the surrounding area.

"A special mention must be given to David Morgan and his team at Lancaster Civic Vision for compiling a petition of more than 500 names so far from all over the Lancaster district.

David Morris MP at Westminster.

"As I said, all the political parties endorse this and the campaign has unanimous support on Lancaster City Council. It was confirmed to me this morning that the council will submit a formal bid.”

Lancaster MP Cat Smith was also present for the debate to ensure Labour’s support for the bid was also on the record.

She said: “We have all come together to make a bid for the north of Lancashire.

"If levelling up is to mean anything, does he agree that we cannot just see bids to Government coming from the big cities; we also need them to come from towns such as Carnforth?

Cat Smith MP.

"If Lancashire were to get it, would it not be a shame if it were to go to Preston, for example, ahead of Carnforth? Does he agree that Carnforth has a much stronger bid in the county than Preston?”

Summing up the debate Mr Morris said: “Carnforth exists because of the railways. Carnforth is steeped in railway connectivity and heritage, and is known the world over as Steamtown.

"Carnforth hosts the last complete steam railway depot, which is crying out for new life to be injected into its many listed historic structures.

"The site is now occupied by West Coast Railways, one of the UK’s largest heritage rail operators. The love of rail is in the DNA of Carnforth.

"Network Rail have depots and offices located close by, showing an established rail expertise, and further personnel and workforces will enhance the community’s heritage.”