Swindon is expected to present itself as the new headquarters of Great British Railways, according to at least two senior city politicians.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that cities outside of London will be able to bid to host the new organization’s headquarters.
His department pledged the national headquarters would be outside London, “ensuring that skilled jobs, investment and economic benefits are concentrated beyond the capital.”
He added: “The competition will reward towns with a rich rail history that are strongly linked to the network, ensuring that the first head office will take pride of place at the heart of a new era for British railways. ”
One of Swindon’s two Tory MPs thinks the town would be the perfect location.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland tweeted: “What better place than Swindon, home of GWR and the heart of Brunel’s magnificent railway vision?
Former deputy head of Swindon Borough Council and chairman of the Economic Growth Watch and Review Committee, Russell Holland, is also in favor.
Coun Holland said: “I am really delighted to see that Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, will soon be launching a competition to find a new home for the headquarters of the Great British Railway. It really is a great opportunity for Swindon.
“It was on September 13, 1840, that Daniel Gooch, the new superintendent of locomotives for the Great Western Railway, at just 21, wrote to Brunel recommending Swindon as the ‘principal locomotive establishment’ for the GWR.
“Growing up in Swindon, I remember visiting the railway works in the 1980s, shortly after they closed in elementary school. The guides painted a vivid picture of life on the railroad. Most recently, I really enjoyed seeing “Railway Town” at the Wyvern Theater, a brilliant film that captures the spirit of Swindon’s industrial growth.
“While the railroad work is complete, our fantastic Designer Outlet still preserves the rail heritage for shoppers who travel for miles, passing other towns to discover Swindon.”
Councilor Holland is so keen for Swindon to come in that he has said he will put it on the agenda for the next economic review meeting.
He added: “Winning in this competition would bring tangible economic benefits to Swindon and would be a great opportunity to showcase some of our finest legacies. I will make this a key item on the agenda for the next committee meeting. I really hope we can get some support for this.
Swindon Borough Council has been contacted for advice on the matter.