5 reasons Doncaster should be Great British Railways’ HQ

21st July, 2022

CWE Ltd. was founded in 1966 and has a rich heritage in rail, providing the UK’s only independent buffer and coupler legacy overhaul service from our Centre of Excellence for Rail in Crowe. Britain’s passenger and freight railways are not just close to our hearts, they are in our DNA. That’s why we care deeply about the location of Great British Railways’ (GBR) headquarters.

The competition to find a home for the new public body was launched in May 2021 as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan. GBR will oversee rail infrastructure, ticket prices and timetables and the shortlist has been whittled down from 42 towns and cities to just six – Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

Like CWE, Doncaster has a rich rail heritage and skills base – and we firmly believe it is the natural choice for this great generational reform. Here’s why:

1. Ticks all the boxes

Great British Railways must be a positive move for railways in the UK. That’s why we believe the criteria set by the government for the bidding towns and cities is so important – a location outside of London, rail heritage and links, connected. At CWE, we use our rail industry engineering platform as a way to provide opportunities to the communities we are proud to serve – whoever hosts GBR’s headquarters must provide social value as well, and Doncaster can.

2. Rail heritage and cluster

A key part of large projects like this is being able to draw on historic ties with the railways. Not only does it give you experience to draw on, but it also helps you to be forward facing and future-ready, because that passion enables a proactive approach. Doncaster has deep-rooted rail heritage, dating back to 1853 with the opening of the Doncaster Locomotive Works. This saw the building of trains such as the Flying Scotsman and Mallard in the town. Doncaster is home to 50+ rail companies, with more than 8,000 employees in total. Its region, South Yorkshire, is home to several more companies as well as world-class training facilities. Being able to draw on such a large skilled workforce is a clear advantage and would give GBR a great opportunity to train more people and continue the town’s rail legacy.

“With 55 years of experience in the industry, CWE Ltd. has a rich heritage in rail that we’re extremely proud of. And looking forward, our Centre of Excellence for Rail, for example, offers customers one of the most comprehensive rolling-stock services in the UK. We care deeply about all aspects of rail in the UK, and Doncaster shares that history and passion of ours. We’re convinced it’s the right place for GBR’s headquarters.”

– Nick Andrew, Managing Director, CWE Ltd.

3. Connectivity

Doncaster is lucky to hold a prime position at the heart of the UK’s rail network, with great connectivity to major cities in both Yorkshire and the rest of the country. The town boasts an expanding international airport, motorway access, two rail-freight terminals and the UK’s biggest intermodal rail freight facilities. This would give GBR’s new HQ a great chance to expand its recruitment base and work with other rail hubs.

Doncaster rail travel times:
York, Leeds, Sheffield: 20–30min
Manchester: 1hr 20min
London: 1hr 30min
Edinburgh: 3hrs
Cardiff: 4hrs

4. Community, social and Levelling Up opportunities

CWE cares deeply about providing opportunities within local communities, and Doncaster’s bid is aligned completely with our own values.

The town has well-established education and skills opportunities and assets for rail engineering and supply chain skills and the HQ would help boost the local economy. Doncaster has also been targeted by the Government as being in need of “levelling up” – with a below-average employment rate, GDP and GVA per hour worked. It’s possible the HQ could house up to 1,000 staff and provide nearly 2,000 new jobs for the town – Doncaster is in a perfect position to provide the skilled workers that may be needed.

5. Business booming

As an independent independent business, CWE has always been keen to bring industry representatives together – and that’s exactly what Doncaster’s bid does. The town’s plan boasts a business-led partnership between some key industry players:

  • The town’s Local Enterprise Partnership
  • The Mayoral Combined Authority
  • Sheffield University
  • SY Chambers of Commerce
  • Doncaster Council

The bid has been backed by rail companies such as Unipart Rail, Volker Rail, TTS Rail, DB Cargo UK and iPort Rail.

And we’re delighted to be alongside those firms as another backer.

Vote for Doncaster

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