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Thumbs-up for railways HQ bid.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson@reachplc.com

HE'S arguably Britain's biggest railway buff.

And now Michael Portillo, the Tory MP turned TV presenter, has backed Stockton's bid to become the headquarters for Great British Railways (GBR).

From 2023, GBR will be the sole body will responsible for running Britain's railways.

And Mr Portillo, who hosts the beloved BBC documentary Great British Railway Journeys, argues there's no better home for it than the Teesside town.

"The name Stockton is associated around the world with railways. The first public railway to use steam locomotives opened between there and Darlington in 1825," he said.

"The line pioneered the inventions that underpinned Britain's economic supremacy at the time and the technology that would change the world.

"Now, Stockton needs a boost. It could benefit from some levelling up."

Whatever town or city is picked to host GBR's HQ will undoubtedly benefit from investment and the creation of jobs.

Last month, Transport Secretary Grant

Shapps confirmed that it will definitely be based outside of London, with a competition being run to find the winning host.

Stockton South MP Matt Vickers has been pushing for the town to get the nod. And posing alongside the former minister, he gave a big thumbs up after landing the star supporter.

"When it comes to Britain's proud railway history, there are few people more knowledgeable or deserving of the title of the King of Rail than Michael Portillo," said Mr Vickers.

"That's why I am extremely pleased that he is backing Stockton's bid to become the home of Great British Railways."

CAPTION(S):

Michael Portillo with Stockton South MP Matt Vickers

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Author:IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson@reachplc.com
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 15, 2021
Words:268
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