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United Bid For York To Get New High Speed Rail College

east coast train

7:11pm 9th April 2014

York’s political leaders have today backed calls for the Government proposed High Speed Rail College to be situated in York.

The college, expected to deliver specialised training and qualifications needed to construct high speed rail, will not only benefit HS2 but other future infrastructure projects in the region.

The first new incorporated further education college in over 20-years, it will offer technical training ensuring HS2 can be built by skilled British workers including; rail engineering, environmental skills and construction.

James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council - who represents York & North Yorkshire for HS2 Task Force, said: “I’d like to thank Cllr Steward and Cllr Aspden for joining me in a united cross-party approach in backing calls for the proposed High Speed Rail College to be brought to the city. I also look forward to working with Roger Marsh and Barry Dodd as chair’s of the Leeds City Region LEP and York, North Yorkshire & East Riding LEP respectively, to secure this for the benefit of Yorkshire and the North. York is at the heart of the connection between HS2 and East Coast Main Line."

“We have a long and proud tradition of excellence in this industry and currently have 71 per cent of the regional workforce in the rail industry (7,600). We already have 10 per cent of the total national workforce in this industry (52,500) offering a major existing pool of talent. It makes sense for the new college to be based here to benefit from an unrivalled skill base, industry connections and demand.”

Conservative group leader Chris Steward said:

"We are happy to back the campaign for the High Speed Rail College in York, which would build on York’s lengthy and strong railway history. Although there has been considerable change the constant has been the skill of York workers in the rail industry and we welcome any steps to build on this"

Lib Dem group leader Keith Aspden said:

"I am delighted to support the campaign for the proposed High Speed Rail College to be based in York. The government's plans for a high speed north-south railway link offer this region huge opportunities and we need to make sure we work together to take these."

"Basing the college in York would recognise the city's historic position as the home of the railway in Britain, its present role as a key centre in today’s rail industry, and its future as a city of innovation and specialised engineering."

Stirling Kimkeran, chairman of York’s Economic Partnership said: “The YEP fully supports the LCR 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.”

Barry Dodd, chair of the  York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “Fully support a Yorkshire bid for a HS2 college and considering its history and strength in the Rail Industry would encourage York to be the preferred location”.

York is home to the headquarters of major operators including Northern Rail and East Coast Mainline providing significant collaboration and customer opportunities.  Other key businesses include Alliance Rail Holdings, Historical Railways Estate and Direct Rail Services Ltd.

There are also existing and growing strengths in auxiliary industries such as rail engineering, including businesses such as Tata Steeland Siemens Rail, , and transportation software, with York companies including Omnicom and Trapeze Group.

Network Rail is currently investing £36m in York in the form of a new rail operating and training centre at York Central, a 35ha development site, located immediately adjacent to the rail station in York and expected to accommodate up to 125,000 sq m of commercial and grade A office space as part of a new central business district.

The rail operating centre will be the largest in the country and will control signalling and rail operations on the east coast from London King’s Cross to the Scottish borders. Around 500 jobs will be spread over the two facilities leading to all rail operations for the east coast route consolidated on this site.

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