YORK has lost out on its bid to host the national High Speed Rail training college.

The blow was delivered by Government this morning as it revealed four cities have been shortlisted for the proposed college, which is set to train 2,000 apprentices for the HS2 project.

Announcing that Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester will be taken forward, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said

he was "extremely encouraged" by the level of interest, with the quality of responses very high overall.

York's bid, which was put together by City of York Council in partnership with Network Rail, sought to bring the college to the York Central site.

The bid attracted support from more than 60 businesses and organisations across the Yorkshire and the North East regions as well as education providers.

Following the On Track for York Campaign, launched by The Press, which attracted support from York headteachers, business leaders, and cross party politicians, council leader James Alexander thanked the media, and said he now hopes to see the college located in Doncaster.

He said: "Some you win and some you lose. The High Speed Rail College was an option to further rail training in York and I am disappointed Government has not backed York in this instance.

"The council is continuing to talk to Network Rail about other opportunities related to the new rail operating and training centre.

"York has a long and proud tradition of excellence in this industry and it’s important that we continue to attempt to seize opportunities like this.

"While we now get to work on other options, I back Doncaster's bid to bring the Rail College to Yorkshire.”

Hopes had been high for the success of York's bid, which was submitted by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, with the city already home to the headquarters of major operators including Northern Rail and East Coast Mainline as well as71 per cent of the regional rail industry's workforce and 10 per cent of the national workforce.

Barry Dodd, chairman of the York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: "It's disappointing because we have got a a great site here in York.

"What is important to the future is to make sure that whoever wins knows the engineering expertise in this area is available and that we will collaborate with them and help them."

Stirling Kimkeran, chairman of York’s Economic Partnership, and chief executive of Omincom Engineering - one of the businesses to back the bid, added: "We are disappointed but part of the process in putting together the bid saw a real appetite for creating a rail cluster in and around the area.

"Rail is a key part of York's economy and a rail cluster would definitely benefit the city and surrounding areas. There's still an opportunity for rail businesses to work together and that's not going to change."

Representatives from the four cities will now give presentations to an Advisory Group on June 27 before a final decision is made in July, with the collage set to open by 2017.