NEW HIGH SPEED RAIL COLLEGE SUCCESS FOR BIRMINGHAM
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has today confirmed it has been successful in its bid to establish the National College for High Speed Rail in the city. This important win underlines Birmingham’s credentials as a centre of excellence for rail engineering and demonstrates how it is best placed and ready for the arrival and delivery of the HS2 project.
The overall project is being shared between Birmingham and Doncaster, with the former set to be the home of the governing board which will be established to oversee the development of the college. The board will be chaired by Terry Morgan, who is also chair of Crossrail, and will also include representatives from both areas with HS2 Ltd and leading industry employers.
Today’s news follows the announcements in July 2014 that many of the other key HS2 assets are to be based in Birmingham. These include the headquarters for construction which will be located at Two Snowhill and the forthcoming state-of-the-art Curzon Street Station. In addition, all HS2 trains are to be maintained at the new depot based in Washwood Heath.
Located at Birmingham Science Park in Aston, Birmingham’s share of the college is scheduled to open in 2017 and will play a pivotal role of training the next generation of engineers who will build and maintain the rolling stock, track and infrastructure of the HS2 project. The college building itself is set to be a landmark at the heart of the city and will be designed in conjunction with key rail employers, funded by a significant public-private investment arrangement.
Speaking at the announcement, Andrew Cleaves, board director of GBSLEP responsible for transport who led the bid, said: “This win is great news for Birmingham and is a further sign of the success and growing confidence in our region. We’re obviously delighted to have the National College for High Speed Railcoming to our city, which is fast becoming the national hub for the delivery of HS2 and look forward to working with our colleagues in Doncaster on progressing this project as things gather pace.
“This news is also a true endorsement of what HS2 is all about – expanding the London and South East success across the rest of the country – to ensure that other areas will enjoy more investment, jobs and opportunities, better infrastructure and the related benefits of a more prosperous regional economy.
“We believe our success is due to our existing and solid foundations which have been shaped by key private sector employers, supported by strong local authorities, educational and skills networks, much of which are already established and in operation. This includes the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education which is renowned for being a world-leader in rail research, and working with both the public and private sectors will enable us to delivery this unique, industry-led national centre of learning excellence.”
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We welcome today’s announcement that the HS2 college will be located in both Birmingham and Doncaster.
“We will now rapidly move ahead with the development of the Birmingham site at Aston Science Park with a view to having it ready for students to be trained by 2017. It is also hugely encouraging that a governing board will be established in Birmingham to oversee the development of the college.
“The college will add to the presence of HS2 in the city, which is at the heart of the high-speed rail network, with the recent announcement that the project’s headquarters will also be in Birmingham.
“This gives the city a real advantage and will be a boost to Birmingham’s economy and that of the wider region.”
Professor Jon Binner, deputy head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, added: “The University of Birmingham is delighted that the city has been chosen as a location for the new, elite National College for High Speed Railand the rail industry. Through our internationally leading Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, as well as other parts of the University, we will support the new college strongly and are sure that it will be a tremendous success. We are all looking forward very much to seeing it operational.”