MP bids for Carnforth to become new national railways HQ

Carnforth could become the new headquarters for Great British Railways, according to the town’s MP.

By Louise Bryning
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:30 pm

A competition has been launched to find a town or city outside London which could be home to the new headquarters and David Morris thinks Carnforth stands a good chance of winning.

“We have the links to the national network and I’m sure the public support for the location," he said.

"I am campaigning to put Carnforth back on the railway map as rightfully the ‘centre of the railway universe’ in the UK’s National Rail network."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Carnforth Station.

Mr Morris has already told Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that he believes there is no better location than Carnforth for this major project and intends to explain in Parliament why the town should be chosen.

He added: “All routes go through Carnforth, the heritage links are historical as well as evident and we can offer value for money with skills and utilise the huge estate still owned by the railway to site a new complex and accommodate the expected hundreds of local jobs.”

Carnforth’s strong historical links to the railway are celebrated at the station’s Heritage Centre and as well as being known as a railway town for decades, Carnforth Station is also famous as one of the main locations for the classic film Brief Encounter.

However, previous campaigns to reinstate the station’s West Coast Mainline platforms and to save the ticket office failed.

MP David Morris.

Undeterred, Mr Morris says his new campaign already has support from the Conservative group leadership at Lancaster City Council and County Coun Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council.

The selection process is being run by the Great British Railways (GBR) Transition Team on behalf of the Department for Transport and is part of the Government’s commitment to level-up the UK.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I’m calling on people across the country to make the case for why the true home of the railways is on your doorstep.”

The new GBR HQ will bring high-skilled jobs to the winning location and local economies will be further boosted by a number of new regional headquarters across the country, putting decision-making and investment at the heart of the communities that use those railways day to day.

The creation of GBR was announced as a major pillar of once-in-a-generation reforms and aims to end the fragmentation of the rail industry and drive benefits and improvements across the network for passengers and freight customers.

Lancashire County Council is responsible for submitting an Expression of Interest for the new HQ before the March 16 deadline. The GBR Transition Team will shortlist the best applications in May, after which a public vote will help determine the winning location. The final decision will be announced this summer.