Full steam ahead for Doncaster rail college plans

An HS2 prototype
An HS2 prototype

Plans for a rail college in Doncaster are steaming ahead with the council set to approve support and land for the scheme.

Doncaster Council’s ruling cabinet is set to discuss how best to press ahead with the scheme after the town was selected from a host of nationwide bidders to become home to the building.

The new National High Speed Rail College will be located across two sites – Doncaster and Birmingham.

It will be used to train scores of students involved in the new HS2 high-speed rail link scheme for years to come.

Members of the council’s cabinet will be asked at the meeting on Wednesday, January 7 to give their backing for the council’s continued involvement and development of the college, including providing a site at Carolina Way, Lakeside, for the construction of the new building.

The council will be in charge of the construction of the college and the land will be provided through either a long-term lease or as a gift.

Councillors will also be asked to rubber-stamp proposals on curriculum development, project management and construction management.

A pre-meeting report to members says: “The proposals set out provide Doncaster with a strong platform to capitalise on the Government decision to locate the national high-speed rail college in Doncaster.

“This college will provide local residents with direct access to the training and qualifications needed to access highly skilled, well-paid jobs.

“Local businesses will benefit through an increase in residents with the skills to meet business requirements.

“One of the central aims of the college will be to improve the diversity and inclusivity of the rail industry through the creation of clear pathways into employment and promotion of the rail industry as a career choice.”

HS2 is the Government’s strategy for delivering a high speed rail network for Britain, creating improved rail links between London and Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

The college will lead the sector in designing and delivering the technical skills needed for the scheme, as well as for wider engineering projects.

The report concludes: “Doncaster is the spiritual home of Britain’s railways with locomotives such as The Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley and Mallard all built in Doncaster.

“This option will see real economic benefits for Doncaster, the Sheffield city region and the North, truly spreading the economic benefits of HS2.”

Work on finalising the curriculum is due to be completed by March.

Building of the college is expected to start in the summer of next year with the college opening for the 2017-18 academic year.