Towns and cities up and down the East Coast Mainline are publicly backing the bid to have the High Speed Rail College in Doncaster.
Given the ease of access to Doncaster along the main rail line between London and Scotland, support has continued to come through with places seeing the potential benefits of having the national training and research centre within easy reach.
Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “The case for locating the High Speed Rail College in Doncaster and the Sheffield City Region is second to none. No other bid can claim to have the sheer scale of support.
“Given our central location on the East Coast Mainline it will naturally spread the benefit of HS2 to other areas along the line. By choosing Doncaster, the Government would ensure the College has a transformational impact on a growing cluster of rail and engineering firms and enable everybody, particularly those in Yorkshire and the north, to acquire the skills they need to benefit from the UK’s economic recovery.”
The latest in a stream of supporters is South Kesteven District Council, the same patch as Nick Boles MP who represents Grantham and Stamford. Nick Boles was recently promoted in the Government’s Cabinet reshuffle to Minister of State for Skills, Enterprise and Equalities and will be heavily involved in making the decision on where to base the HS2 Rail College.
Coun Linda Neal, leader of South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), said: “I am in full support of Doncaster’s bid to bring the Rail College to Yorkshire. SKDC’s main priority is to grow the economy and with our already high speed rail service to London – just over an hour, it’s great to hear of potential investment in the Northern rail links, which will in turn help to drive economic growth in our area.”
Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council and Chair of the East Coast Main Line Authorities (ECMA), said: “I fully support Doncaster’s bid to bring the Rail College to Yorkshire. We need to see a continued investment in the Northern rail links, which is vital if our cities are going to drive economic growth and create new jobs across the country in years to come.
“If successful, the college would no doubt support the ongoing investment by the East Coast Mainline Authorities and visa versa, of which the predicted economic benefits would increase to £9bn if the East Coast Mainline is improved in addition to the eastern arm of High Speed 2 being built.”
Support has been offered from Stevenage right up to Scotland. Coun Will Dawson, chairman of Tactran (Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership), said: “It is entirely logical for us to support Doncaster, not only as part of the East Coast Mainline Authorities but also in terms of stressing the need for High Speed Rail to extend beyond the Midlands and Manchester and ultimately to Scotland.”
The bid is private sector led by the Centre for Rail Engineering And Technical Excellence (CREATE), coordinated by Doncaster Council and supported by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
As well as the support of the ECMA, the bid has been backed by LEPs, Chambers of Commerce, local authorities, universities and colleges, businesses and individuals across Yorkshire, the North-East and further afield.
An advisory group of representatives from Crossrail, HS2 Limited, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport will make the decision in the autumn. Doncaster is up against Birmingham, Derby and Manchester for the research and teaching centre.
People and businesses are still being asked to back Doncaster’s campaign. More information is on: www.businessdoncaster.com.