Wiganers urged to back bid to bring railway HQ to their doorstep

Wigan residents are being urged to get behind the bid to bring the new national rail organisation Great British Railways to the borough next door.

By Charles Graham
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 3:45 pm

With Newton-le-Willows the proposed destination, neighbouring Wiganers have been exhorted to back the campaign which, backers say, will bring jobs and business opportunities to the surrounding areas.

The plan to have the new headquarters sited in Newton has been launched by St Helens Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with a shortlist set to be drawn up by Government next month, before a public vote will choose the final winner.

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An aerial view of the former Parkside colliery site

As part of the criteria which the Government will use to choose the shortlist there is a call for public support of each bid, so the public and businesses across Wigan are being called upon to add their voice and get behind the local crusade.

A spokesperson for St Helens Council said: “Bringing the Great British Railways HQ to Newton-le-Willows would be a huge boost for our economy, bringing quality jobs and opportunities for local businesses to support and benefit from this new national organisation.

“Wigan has a long standing rail heritage and is also a key part of its future with HS2 coming to the borough in the future. Bringing the headquarters to Newton-le-Willows will have further positive impacts on the town with the potential for further rail sector developments.

“We have already had support from major rail industry backers and others who already call the region their home and now we want the public to get behind this bid to bring investment, jobs, and recognition of our borough’s significant role in rail heritage through a successful bid.”

Parkside Colliery before it was demolished

The bid plays on the region’s rail heritage, that includes forming part of the first passenger railway almost 200 years ago, Earlestown Station being the oldest station building still in use in the world, and the significant industry at both the Vulcan and Viaduct works in Newton and Earlestown that created locomotives for the world over.

The region also plays an integral role in current railway infrastructure with a strong rail industry cluster of organisations based in the area including Alstom, Stadler, Northern, Rock Rail & Road, RS Clare and Unipart Dorman.

To support the project, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/GBRHQ and fill in the survey.