YORK’S bid to host the HS2 rail college is being backed by hundreds of local youngsters keen to become rail engineers.

Yesterday The Press launched its On Track for York campaign in support of the bid, as Government looks for a location for the college, which will train up to 2,000 apprentices.

Today the campaign is highlighting the existing hunger for rail industry training in York.

In 2012 more than 300 young people applied for rail engineering apprenticeships at the Yorkshire Rail Academy after Vital Rail said it would be recruiting 100 apprentices.

Vital Rail partnered with York College to provide training for apprentices at the academy, which is run by the college in partnership with the National Railway Museum, where it is located.

York College enrolled 54 Level 2 Rail Apprentices who were employed by Vital Rail Skills, and underwent training in installing and maintaining track infrastructure.

However in December last year, before the remainder of the 100 apprentices could be trained, Vital Skills Training went into administration.

A spokesperson for York College said almost all of the students on the Vital apprenticeship completed their qualification and the majority of them gained employment or continued into further education.

Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the campaign for the college to be brought to York.

“York has a long and proud tradition of excellence in this industry which is testament to the fact that over 300 people applied for Yorkshire Rail Academy a few years ago.

"York holds 71 per cent of the regional workforce in the rail industry (7,600) and 10 per cent of the total national workforce in this industry (52,500) offering a major existing pool of talent.”