Bid goes in for York to host high speed rail college
THE bid to bring the national high speed rail college and its 2,000 apprentices to York is being submitted to Government tomorrow.
City of York Council, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum have been working together on a bid to make York the home of the college after the Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced it was consulting on possible locations.
Ahead of tomorrow's deadline for bid submissions, the York bid has attracted support from more than 60 businesses and organisations across the Yorkshire and the North East regions, including companies such as East Coast, Tata and Omnicom Engineering, Dyer Engineering, and Hitachi's new operation in County Durham.
With up to 2,000 apprentices potentially studying at the new college, education skills providers across the region are also supporting the proposals including York College, Teesside University, Darlington College and the University of York.
The proposal to bring the college to land on the York Central site has also been backed by The On Track for York campaign, launched by The Press, which was supported by York headteachers, business leaders, and cross party politicians.
The college will deliver specialised training and qualifications needed to construct high speed rail, with the aim of not only benefitting the planned HS2 project but other future infrastructure projects in the region.
Barry Dodd, chairman of the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our LEP believes the proposed High Speed Rail College should be located in York because the existing brand new Network Rail training centre together with impressive rail infrastructure is already there.
"The HSR college would therefore gain instant critical mass, provide cross training opportunities and achieve cost benefits if positioned in York."
Stirling Kimkeran, chairman of York’s Economic Partnership added: “The YEP fully supports this bid. We welcome the potential to grow an already strong sector within the region and with York’s rail heritage and existing skilled workforce we would like to see the new college based in this location.”
Other towns and cities believed to be submitting bids include Crewe, Derby, Stoke, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Doncaster.
However industry leaders backing York's bid believe the city stands out as a leading contender as York is already home to the headquarters of major operators including Northern Rail and East Coast Mainline providing significant collaboration and customer opportunities.
Furthermore, the city's location means that within one hour it provides links to 14 per cent of the UK’s rail industry.
The government is expected to make a decision on the location of the college by July, with the collage set to open by 2017.