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25th Jun, 2022

Could Worcester's historic Shrub Hill be the final stop for Great British Railways HQ?

Rob George 27th Mar, 2022

WORCESTER’s historic Shrub Hill is bidding to bring the new headquarters of the new Great British Railways body to the city, placing it at the heart of the area’s multi-million-pound revamp.

The city has joined a number of communities in pitching to host the new public body which will integrate the UK’s railways away from the currently privatised rail network.

Great British Railways (GBR) will own the country’s rail infrastructure, collect fare revenue and plan fares and timetables.

Worcester is one of 42 towns and cities to express an interest in hosting the new, national rail hub and Worcestershire County Council’s bid has won support from Worcester City Council and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP).

The plan focuses on the transformation of the historic Shrub Hill Quarter which has the 1850-built railway station at its heart. The works at Shrub Hill will see the re-birth of one of the largest Midlands brownfield sites, bringing new homes and jobs.

The County Council owns historic, rail industry Grade-II buildings next to Shrub Hill station and these would offer GBR modern, bespoke, attractive, sustainable and flexible choices for its HQ.

Council chiefs believe the bid would celebrate Worcester’s rich Great Western and Midland railway heritage and strong links to the national network and become the proud home for the start of a new era in Britain’s railways.

The HQ will be home primarily to corporate functions, a number of network-wide capabilities, and meeting and collaboration spaces to enable people from across the regions and industry to come together.

Coun Simon Geraghty, county council leader said: “Worcestershire is at the very heart of Great Britain, well-connected by both rail and the strategic highway network.

“We are determined to see our direct rail connectivity evolve and improve with GBR’s close engagement, taking maximum benefit of both our multi-million Worcestershire Parkway Station and Shrub Hill Station scheme.”

The bid has been backed by all six county MPs, Lord Faulkner of Worcester who is chair of the North Cotswold Line Task Force, the Worcestershire Rail User Group Association and the Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership.

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said: “Worcester is a well-connected city at Great Britain’s heart.

“We are home to one of Brunel’s great Victorian stations in Shrub Hill as well as one of the newest 21st century stations in the country at Worcestershire Parkway.”

Cities on the final shortlist will be revealed in May and ministers will visit each of the areas chosen before a public vote to decide the winning location during the summer.

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