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Chiltern Railways and Carillion among backers for Birmingham HS2 College bid

The internationally-recognised Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham also forms part of the £20 million bid for the national high speed rail college

CGI of the planned HS2 rail line

Dozens of businesses – including Chiltern Railways and Carillion – are leading the bid to bring the HS2 College to Birmingham.

The internationally-recognised Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham also forms part of the £20 million bid for the national high speed rail college.

The city is thought to be competing against the likes of Crewe, Milton Keynes and Derby to host the college, which would train up to 2,000 apprentices needed to build the high speed rail line.

The Post previously revealed that land at Eastside Locks had been set aside for the college, but there are three other sites on the bid – Birmingham Science Park Aston, Riverside in Perry Barr and Jennens Road in Eastside.

The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has submitted its proposal to Government which seeks “to create a global centre to provide the skills development for high speed projects around the world”.

Steve Hollis, deputy chairman of the GBSLEP, said: “We believe our proposition is a compelling one, delivering for Government an elite educational establishment, at the heart of the HS2 route.

“Our proposals are built on solid foundations – shaped by key private sector employers and supported by strong local authority, educational and skills networks.

“Much of this network is already in operation, thanks largely to the jewel in the crown of our proposals, the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education – already a world-leader in rail research with global experience of engaging both the public and private sectors.

“We have submitted four site options to the Government, each located in or near the city centre and each with particular strengths which we feel will suit the objectives of Government.

“We know that HS2 will have a huge economic impact on Greater Birmingham – our aim is to maximise this, make the most of the Government’s investment in the project and rebalance the economy.”

The successful bidder is expected to be announced this summer.

The college will be created by 2017 with the first construction phases of the HS2 route to begin the same year and completion of the route between Birmingham and London to be ready by 2026.

Almost 60 businesses make up the steering group for the Birmingham bid, also including Arup and Balfour Beatty.

It also brings together Birmingham City Council, nine colleges in the region and three universities.

The college forms part of wider £1 billion plans for the city to make the most of HS2 by creating up to 50,000 jobs and becoming a centre of excellence for rail and help plug the engineering skills crisis.

Meanwhile, a second Conservative minister has threatened to resign from the Government if David Cameron refuses to make major changes to the £50 billion High Speed 2 rail project.

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright (Con Kenilworth and Southam) warned that he would be forced to quit in order to vote against the plan in the Commons when MPs are required to make a final decision on whether to allow the scheme to proceed.

His announcement follows a similar warning from David Lidington, the Europe Minister, who is demanding a new tunnel under the Chiltern Hills to protect his constituents from the blight of the new HS2 railway line.

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