Posted 5th October 2021 | 4 Comments

Formal GBR Transition Team launched alongside HQ contest

Formal GBR Transition Team launched alongside HQ contest

The next step towards creating the railway's new 'guiding mind' has been taken, with the formal launch of a Great British Railways Transition Team. It is being led by Andrew Haines, who as CEO of Network Rail has already been working behind the scenes to lay the foundations for GBR in consultation with transport secretary Grant Shapps. Mr Shapps has also announced a competition to decide where the new headquarters of GBR will be. The government will invite expressions of intent, although London is being excluded. The Department for Transport said: 'The competition will recognise towns and cities with a rich railway history that are strongly linked to the network ensuring the first headquarters will take pride of place at the heart of a new era for Britain’s railways.' Lobbying has already begun, with the leader of City of York council confirming that the city will bid to become GBR's home. Councillor Keith Aspden said: 'York is already at the heart of the rail industry in the North, with our existing rail links, rail sector jobs and highly skilled workforce, so it would make perfect sense.'

Mutinous passengers forced GWR express to reverse

A Great Western Railway express from Penzance to London was halted by angry passengers after it had not stopped at Swindon and was allowed to set back, causing major delays to other traffic. The train from Cornwall was said to be 'dangerously overcrowded', and the emergency alarm was pulled six times after Swindon had been passed. The train was delayed by an hour by the reversing move and was eventually terminated at Reading, having lost its path into Paddington. GWR said: 'We’re really sorry for those inconvenienced yesterday and those who were delayed will be able to get their money back by claiming a refund. The 14.18 Penzance to Paddington service was diverted via Chippenham and Swindon to assist passengers affected by an earlier cancelled train. The service was however too busy to carry more passengers safely, so the extra stops were removed. While those on board were informed of the decision, having passed Swindon the emergency ‘passcomms’ was pulled and the train stopped – further delaying the service.' 

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Steve, Milton Keynes

    What another colossal waste of taxpayers money, but that's par for this Government's course. Network Rail's HQ in Milton Keynes was built 10 years ago for approx £100 million. And now they want to abandon that and build another one? I'm sure the staff are "loving" the prospect of relocating their families tto the new site in a deprived area.

    Unless it's not fit for purpose, just slap a GBR logo on the MK Quadrant building, and save the 150-200 million it'll cost now to build a successor. The uptake in home working and online meetings would surely make a newer bigger building pointless?

  • david c smith, Bletchley

    Has it occurred to anybody that if the current NR HQ is moved from Milton Keynes to this as yet unknown new site, there will probably be scores / hundreds of NR staff who will be put into very difficult situations ? The organisation could be crippled for a while.

  • H. Gillies-Smith, South Milford

    From a strategic and operational aspect Crewe seems to me to be the obvious choice. Centre of the network and even HS2 on the doorstep. No contest.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    The GWR reversal seems to set a dangerous precedent. Other passengers will be trying it again soon. Perhaps a better solution would have been a stop at Didcot with a luxury Coach waiting to take those Swindon passengers back again. £20 vouchers all round as well as a token of the Companies apology.

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