HUNDREDS of jobs could be created as a bid has been made to base a major railway HQ in Eastleigh.

A competition is set to open soon to decide where to base the new public body to manage the country’s railways, Great British Railways (GBR).

The government is planning to set up the organisation’s headquarters in a railway town and will soon be allowing bids and submissions to find GBR’s new home.

Now though, Eastleigh MP, Paul Holmes says he has launched a campaign to bring the HQ to Eastleigh which could provide “hundreds of jobs” for the area.

Having written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, outlining the case for Eastleigh to be the public body’s new base, Mr Holmes said that the headquarters would bring “exciting new job opportunities and provide a major economic boost.”

He added: “Eastleigh is a proud railway town with an impressive history dating back to 1838. Our town would be the perfect location for the new headquarters of Great British Railways.

“We need to level up across the country and Eastleigh urgently needs extra investment and regeneration, especially in the town centre.”

The MP is being backed in his bid by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The creation of GBR is said to be the biggest change in 25 years and is aimed at integrating the railways, owning the infrastructure, collecting fare revenue, running and planning the network, and setting most fares and timetables.

By basing the HQ outside London, the Government says it wants to “ensure that skilled jobs and economic benefits are focused beyond the capital”.

Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Keith House said: “The council has for many years backed the idea of Eastleigh being a major host for railway heritage.

“If the Government is now prepared to make this a reality then Eastleigh would be an ideal place with its mix of old and new, and close to our aviation hub at the airport”.

In a letter to transport secretary, Grant Shapps, Mr Holmes said: “I firmly believe that Eastleigh would serve to be the perfect home for Great British Railways.

“It combines both the strong historical association with the railway along with excellent transport links thereby making Eastleigh a very practical location for a head office.”