Call for HS2 high-speed rail college to be built in Derbyshire

An example of the high speed 'HS2' train
An example of the high speed 'HS2' train

Derbyshire County Council is backing a call for the High Speed 2 (HS2) college to be in the county, which they say would create new jobs. It would offer courses specilising in HS2 skills.

Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council have joined forces to call for the High Speed 2 (HS2) college to be sited in the county.

County council leader Councillor Anne Western and city council leader Councillor Paul Bayliss are urging transport chiefs to consider locating a specialist further education college in the area.

ollowing Ministers’ announcement for plans for a dedicated rail college, both leaders have requested that the Secretary of State for Transport considers building the academy locally because of Derby’s long-standing links with the rail industry.

In a joint letter to Patrick McLoughlin - MP for Derbyshire Dales - both Councillors Western and Bayliss welcome the Government’s proposals for a college to help supply the specialist skills needed to build the HS2 project because of its potential to create thousands of local jobs.

Councillor Western said: “We especially welcome the local job opportunities that will be created through employment in construction and the operation of the new railway, in the rail supply industry and in the wider economy as a result of better rail connections.

“For some time East Midlands local authorities have recognised the need for an academy as a centre of expertise and training in high speed rail technology and because of the city’s historic links with the rail sector, this area would seem a natural choice,” said Councillor Western.

According to a recent report by economic experts Volterra, more than half of national employment in the manufacture of rolling stock is in the East Midlands, two-thirds within Derby.

This suggests that around 2,500 workers in Derby could be involved in manufacturing rolling stock connected with HS2. The proposed maintenance depot at Staveley could also provide up to 250 jobs in an area where there are existing rail engineering firms with established links to the university sector.

There are also very close links between the rail industry, Derby University, Derby College, local private training providers and the National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering (NSARE).

Councillor Western said: “We believe this offers the right conditions to establish a successful college that offers value for money, excellent links to industry and good communication links for learners from all parts of the country.”

Councillor Bayliss said: “Derby is the centre of rail manufacture in the UK and also of engineering excellence, and as the city of ‘planes, trains and automobiles’ it is the obvious and only choice for such an academy. We would be proud to welcome it to the city.”

Derbyshire County Council has responded to consultation on the West Midlands to Leeds leg of the route - which in Derbyshire broadly follows the M1 corridor.

Councillor Western added: “We recognise the potential benefits for the local economy but also request that full consideration be given to removing or lessening any negative impacts.”