YORK'S rail industry is set to be bolstered by a new cluster organisation made up of businesses and educators in the sector to promote the city's rail offering.

The idea was born out of consultation work into a bid being put forward by City of York Council and Network Rail to bring the proposed training college for the High Speed rail project to York.

However it was decided that irrelevant of the college bid, a rail cluster should be created to support York and the wider rail industry in the region.

More than 20 industry representatives met at the National Railway Museum last night to discuss how they can support the bid, and work together to boost the industry as a whole.

The meeting was attended by representatives from across the supply chain, including education and training providers, engineering companies, rail operators, and City of York Council's economic development team.

Jo North, managing director of Big Bang Partnership, who led the meeting, said: "The idea of creating a cluster for the rail industry in the region has been around for a while, but putting together the bid for the college has really accelerated it.

"There is a real appetite from business and skills providers to come together. The people within this sector are very passionate about what they do."

It was proposed the cluster would represent the region's industry on a national and international level, giving members regular access to contract opportunities while also working with schools and universities to attract young people into the industry to create a sustainable workforce.

The plans for the cluster will be added to the bid to bring the HS Rail College to York, which must be submitted to the Department for BIS by Wednesday next week, alongside other bids from across the country.

The bid, which is being submitted by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, is being put together by City of York Council, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum, outlining plans to bring the college to the York Central site.

The location for the college, which will train up to 2,000 apprentices and engineers for the High Speed 2 railway line and other future projects, will be announced this summer, with doors set to open in 2017.

The Press’s On Track For York campaign, which was launched in support of the bid, has been backed by politicians, business leaders and head teachers around York.