GCRE site

UK: The Global Centre of Rail Excellence has invited investors to express interest in taking an equity stake to support the next phase of development of the planned test centre in South Wales.

Project promoter GCRE Ltd is currently wholly owned by the Welsh government, and is now seeking a strategic investor to acquire a majority shareholding. The investor would then develop and fund the project to completion and play a lead role in implementation and commercialisation. Construction of the test centre is scheduled to begin in early 2023, with full operation starting from 2025.

GCRE Ltd was established in 2021 by the Welsh government with a £50m capital commitment. Further funding is being provided by the UK government, including a £20m capital commitment and £7·4m from Innovate UK. The total planned investment is put at £400m.

‘Our plan has always been to work with private sector partners to seek their investment and, importantly, their knowledge and skills in key areas such as rail and energy to realise the exciting GCRE vision as strategic partners’, said Chief Executive Simon Jones on November 23.

‘We want to encourage partners from across the world to look at our project and to recognise the strong investment opportunity it represents’, he added. ‘We are also keen to talk to investment partners with experience of large energy systems with an appetite to invest in decarbonising the railway’.

The GCRE team has worked with EY as financial adviser and Ashurst as legal adviser.