There was disappointment across County Durham, Darlington and Teesside as all three bids to bring the headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR) to the region failed.

Newcastle and York are however among the six towns and cities shortlisted.

Newcastle City Council described the news as "fantastic" and said it could bring jobs to the region - and urged people to vote for it in the public poll. 

Darlington, Durham and Stockton had all put forward passionate cases highlighting connections to the birthplace of the railway

With the approaching bicentenary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which will be celebrated in 2025, it had been hoped one of the towns with connection to it would be chosen.

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Describing it as “incredibly disappointing”, Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, said: “Establishing the railway headquarters in Stockton would also have created jobs, supported the local economy and complemented the great work of Stockton Borough Council to re-develop Stockton High Street.

"I can’t help but feel that this is a missed opportunity for the Conservative Government to demonstrate that “levelling up” is more than just a buzzword.”

But Stockton South MP Matt Vickers, while adding his disappointment to the failed bid, highlighted funding secured from the Government, some of which will be spent on a project celebrating the original tracks of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in Preston Park.

He said: "This campaign was an excellent opportunity to highlight the historic part our area played in the establishing of the world's railways on a national level. I'd like to thank everyone for getting behind our bid, signing petitions and getting involved in all sorts of different ways. The pride our community has in our local history is clearly still incredibly strong."

A total of 42 places had submitted bids, with Newcastle, York, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster and Birmingham making the shortlist.

The Northern Echo: Durham had put forward a bidDurham had put forward a bid

The headquarters will be outside of London as part of the Government’s commitment to bringing high quality jobs to places outside of the capital.

The Government is creating a public body responsible for running the railway. The competition, launched by transport secretary Grant Shapps last year was aimed at finding a place with a rich railway heritage, strong links to the national network and significant public support.

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In Durham, the bid had tried to highlight links with train builder Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe and Locomotion in Shildon.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, from Durham County Council, said: “Despite not being shortlisted we are proud of our bid to be named the home of the Great British Railways HQ.

“County Durham has an illustrious rail heritage and we are now looking forward to celebrating the bicentenary of the railways in 2025.”

She added: “We support Newcastle’s bid and hope the city is successful in bringing the HQ to the North East.”

Durham MP Mary Foy added: “It’s very disappointing that Durham City has not made the final shortlist for GB Railways Headquarters.

“I pressed the county council to ensure Durham was considered as this is exactly the kind of the investment and jobs that our local authority should be attracting to our city.

“While disappointing, we must ensure Durham is an attractive prospect for major private and public investment  in order to bring quality jobs to the city such as the Aykley Heads site- where so much uncertainty remains.”

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Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said:  “I am naturally disappointed that Darlington hasn’t been shortlisted to be the home of the Great British Railway HQ. We're lucky to live in Darlington, our ongoing commitment to economic development and partnerships with developers, funders and the local community has led to a number of key regeneration schemes in recent years, and we should all be proud of the future that we are creating together for our town.

“As the birthplace of the modern passenger railway I am committed to celebrating and building on our proud rail heritage, ensuring that everyone benefits from our economic success.”

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Councillor Jonathan Dulston, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: "In our expression of interest, submitted earlier this year, we set out what we felt was a compelling case for Darlington - widely considered to be the birthplace of the railways - to be the location of choice for the headquarters of Great British Railways. It wasn't to be and of course we're disappointed not to have been shortlisted.

"This country is blessed with a great number of fantastic railway towns and cities, and while we're biased and think Darlington is the best, we must say congratulations to those shortlisted. I'll be watching with interest and hoping one of our East Coast Mainline neighbours will ultimately be successful.”

There will now be a public vote to choose the winner.

For more information and to take part visit

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