Preston Station. Editorial credit: Mark D Bailey / Shutterstock.com’

Great British Railways headquarters

A bid is being led by Lancashire County Council to bring the new headquarters of Great British Railways to Preston.

We've submitted a bid to the government competition which asked councils to submit an expression of interest by Wednesday 16 March 2022, before a shortlist is created later in the year.

The Great British Railways offices would bring significant numbers of jobs and economic growth as staff relocate with potential wider opportunities and benefits across Lancashire.

Great British Railways is a new public body which will own the infrastructure, with responsibilities for the running and planning of the rail network, in addition to the setting of fares and timetables.

The successful town or city will work with the government to understand the requirements and work to agree a specific site.

This is a rare opportunity to secure an affordable city centre location adjacent to a major railway station, at a key junction on the national rail network, which provides access to an advanced engineering economy, assets and talent pool driven by leading edge universities and global business leaders such as BAE Systems.

Preston railway station is the main railway hub in Lancashire, with several lines providing direct connections across Lancashire from Blackpool to Colne and Carnforth to Chorley, as well as to key destinations including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the midlands. It will also be a main stop for HS2 services in the future.

As part of developing the bid, the county council contacted key organisations and businesses to gain backing for the plans.

The bid was led by the county council, working in partnership with Preston City Council, the University of Central Lancashire and the Preston Partnership.

Benefits for Lancashire

The headquarters will deliver a range of direct and indirect benefits to Preston and elsewhere in Lancashire, including additional high-value jobs and jobs in the supply chain.

It will increase the number of visitors to the city and spend, helping to unlock further investment into the city as part of the Station Quarter regeneration plans.

A wider vision

The bid to GB Railways is part of a wider programme to regenerate the area around Preston Railway Station. Find out more on our Station Quarter framework page.

The HQ would directly support the objectives set out for the Station Quarter:

  • Attract new businesses to Lancashire, with the offer of modern facilities in a city centre location which helps to attract and retain a skilled workforce
  • Retain and attract key public sector occupiers (including key office-based government department functions in the city), business HQs, and government departments and realise growth opportunities linked to city centre success
  • Provide a welcoming gateway to the city centre, providing high quality public realm which flows from Fishergate to the university campus, and through to other parts of the city centre
  • Capitalise on the potential from Preston becoming a HS2 station, delivering commercial floorspace in a location which will give occupiers rapid access to the HS2 network
  • Set the context for wider work with FirstGroup Consortium, making the case for the improvements at the railway station

Knowledge assets such as the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone and UCLan, as well as other universities in Lancaster and Manchester offer a skills and talent pool that will feed innovation and development in the engineering, transport and communications sector.

Photo credit: Mark D Bailey / Shutterstock.com

Back our bid

As part of creating our bid, we want your views on having the Great British Railway Headquarters in Preston, as well as the benefits that you think it would bring to the city and other parts of Lancashire.

Back our bid