Awards, contracts & appointments

08.04.19

University buys land for ‘game-changing’ high-speed rail institute in Leeds

A 10-acre plot of land has been acquired by the University of Leeds in order to build a brand-new Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration which will be co-located with HS2 eastern leg’s rolling stock depot.

Aire Valley Land, a joint venture between Harworth Group and Evans Property Group, has sold the ‘North Plot’, paving way for the “thriving hub” which received planning permission last month.

The new engineering and technology campus, specialising in high-speed rail research, will be housed at the Gateway 45 Leeds development site.

This will be a co-location with the HS2 rolling stock depot for HS2’s eastern leg Phase 2b, which will oversee the 24-hour maintenance of the brand-new high-speed trains.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2, said he was “delighted” that Leeds was harnessing every opportunity offered by the flagship rail project.

“We have always said that HS2 is much more than just a railway and this is another great example of the role it will play in rebalancing Britain’s economy and creating a highly skilled workforce for the future.”

The new institute will bring a ‘whole system’ approach to high-speed rail planning, design, construction, and manufacturing, training postgraduate engineers through new MSc courses and PhDs.

The facility is expected to attract significant investment and jobs to Leeds City Region and the rolling stock depot is expected to create up to 125 skilled jobs.

The company said that the equipment, facilities and expertise within the institute will create a UK centre of excellence equipped to lead on the research and development needs of global industry partners.

Lisa Roberts, deputy-vice chancellor of research and innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “The new advanced testing facilities as part of the university’s Institute, alongside HS2’s new rolling stock depot, are a significant step forward for UK high speed rail capability.

“They position Leeds City Region as a global centre for high speed rail research and development, so we’re working closely with HS2 to ensure our facilities align with its needs and those of industry, so all sides can deliver for the country.”

The leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake, commented: “University of Leeds’ investment in its Institute for High Speed Rail and its co-location with HS2 is a game changer for the UK, the city and Leeds City Region.

“It will be world leading in its field and cement the UK’s position as a global leader in rail technology.”

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