Home   Ashford   News   Article

Making Ashford the HQ of Great British Railways would be 'feather in the cap' for the historic railway town


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

Locating the first headquarters of the new Great British Railways (GBR) would be a "feather in the cap" of a historic railway town, its MP has said.

The Department for Transport wants the national headquarters of the new rail body to be based outside London, and Damian Green believes Ashford should seek to compete for the chance to be its new home.

Ashford International is a key railway hub in the south of England. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council
Ashford International is a key railway hub in the south of England. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council

As well as a new national HQ, GBR will also require regional bases across the country.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps hopes these new centres of the railway industry will recognise towns and cities with a rich rail heritage that are strongly linked to the network.

Mr Green said: "It's certainly worth investigating.

"Given Ashford's railway history, it would be entirely appropriate to have the headquarters here.

"It's a question of what it would entail, but I certainly think it's worth preliminary investigations as it would be historic, and a feather in the cap of the town."

Ashford MP Damian Green
Ashford MP Damian Green
Ashford is home to a major Hitachi railway depot. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council
Ashford is home to a major Hitachi railway depot. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council

Ashford sits at a crucial hub of the railway network in the south of England, connected not only to HS1 and the European rail network, but also a junction for a number of other domestic lines stretching out across Kent and Sussex.

The South Eastern Railway main line reached the town in 1842, and engineering works were swiftly established to begin Ashford's era as a major industrial centre.

Today the town is home to the Hitachi Rail Europe Ashford Depot, the first rail vehicle maintenance centre built in Europe by Japanese rail vehicle manufacturer, where trains such as the high-speed 'Javelin' Class 395 are maintained.

Other major railway centres, including Crewe, York and Doncaster, are understood to be in the running for the new headquarters.

Ashford Borough Council says it will be looking at the potential opportunities presented by the selection of new national and regional headquarters for the new railways body.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More