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More details released about high-speed rail college for Doncaster

The planning application has now been submitted for the new National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster, intended to develop the workforce needed to build HS2.

Subject to the necessary approvals, expected by the end of the year, construction of the 7,200m2 three-storey building will start in April 2016, with a launch date set for September 2017.

HSRC illustrative view of west elevation

The college, which will also have a site in Birmingham, where HS2 is now headquartered, represents the next step in developing essential engineers needed for the country’s most ambitious rail programme.

It will cater to more than 1,000 students who will take part in a curriculum including four specialist pathways: rolling stock; railway infrastructure; traction power supply and distribution; and business management and operation planning.

These pathways will be served by a 1,900m2 workshop area, external track, teaching classrooms, informal learning areas, open project spaces, lecture area, seminar and meeting rooms.

Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster, said: “From the design concept, which was shaped in consultation with the private sector, you can see how impressive this new national college is going to be.

“[It] will offer opportunities for our existing world-class rail firms to flourish, entice new private sector investment and firms to the town and importantly drive through economic growth and jobs not just for the borough of Doncaster, but also the Sheffield City Region, Yorkshire and the north of England.”

HSRC illustrative view of the workshop

Since the September 2014 confirmation that the college would be jointly based at Doncaster and Birmingham, both cities have been working with HS2 Ltd to define and refine all stages of the project’s development.

Willmott Dixon was appointed lead contractor for the project’s design and build, while Bond Bryan Architects and other consultants drew up the appropriate feasibility studies for placing the building at Doncaster’s Lakeside campus.

Terry Morgan, chair of the corporate board for the college, said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will have a major impact on the ability of the UK rail supply industry to develop a suitable and sustainable workforce to deliver HS2 and other infrastructure projects.

“This essential training facility will produce the multi-skilled specialist workforce required to address the industry’s current and future skills needs.”

HSRC illustrative view of south elevation

The facility, once built, will be within walking distance of other major rail firms in Doncaster, including DB Schenker, VolkerRail and Hitachi.

Its application also closely follows the launch of the National Training Academy for Rail, a state-of-the-art rail facility in Northampton designed to plug the skills gap permeating the industry at present.

HSRC illustrative aerial view from the south east


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