Chinese could take role in high speed rail college plans

An artist impression of how the rail college could look designed by Bond Bryan Architects.

An artist impression of how the rail college could look designed by Bond Bryan Architects.

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Chinese firms could get involved in the planned Doncaster high speed rail college, it has been revealed.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced Chinese firms would be invited to participate in the National College for High Speed Rail which will open in September 2017 and be based in Doncaster and Birmingham. It was part of a wider announcement on the HS2 rail project.

At least seven new contracts will be opened up to companies, with a total combined value of £11.8 billion.

Mr Osborne also announced a new ‘HS2 partnering day’ between British and Chinese firms to explore joining up on bids for contracts, as well as launching the Northern Powerhouse pitch book.

The event is part of a wider five day tour of China by the Chancellor, aimed at deepening cooperation between the two countries and making China the UK’s second largest export market.

HS2 forms a major part of the Government’s plan to rebalance the UK economy and build a Northern Powerhouse by providing high speed rail services from London to the Midlands, and the North.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones has welcomed the announcement over the National College for High Speed Rail which will open in September 2017 and be based in Doncaster and Birmingham.

She said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will train the rail engineers of the future and by tapping into the knowledge and expertise of hi-tech Chinese firms this can only be a good thing for the college and our growing cluster of rail and engineering firms. The National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster will play an important role in helping to rebalance the national economy.

“Doncaster is a town packed with investment potential, particularly in the rail sector, so the announcement of a regeneration tour of the North and work to encourage joint bids for huge HS2 contracts should help firms in Doncaster and the North forge important relationships and unlock exciting opportunities which sees further inward investment, economic growth and more highly skilled, quality jobs created.”

The Chancellor is also encouraging Chinese companies to take part in an HS2 ‘regeneration tour’, which would involve visiting areas of huge commercial opportunity in London, the Midlands and the North. Investors would have the chance to meet with relevant local authorities and visit station sites.

Doncaster was named as one of two sites for the rail college in September 2014 and the local authority gave the scheme the official go-ahead in May

At the time, Ms Jones said: “The College will be the fulcrum for substantial growth in the rail and associated sectors, delivering far-reaching economic benefits for Doncaster, the Sheffield City Region, Yorkshire, the North-East and beyond,