Eurostar pulls into Sheffield City Region at National College for High Speed Rail
An iconic Eurostar power car – which has carried more than 160 million passengers between the UK and Europe – rolled into the Sheffield City Region this week.
The train, affectionately dubbed #Donnystar, will provide a futuristic classroom for the highly-skilled engineers that the Doncaster site of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) will train. It has been extensively renovated and incorporates the College colours in its livery.
The 25-tonne Trans Manche Super Train, which used to whisk passengers from London to Paris and Brussels at more than 180mph, has been donated by Alstom and Eurostar after it retired from service. It arrived in Doncaster on a low loader and was winched into place on a 700-metre rail track donated by British Steel.
Sheffield City Region provided £6million to help build the College which will play a key role in generating the workforce of the future to design and build the UK’s new high-speed rail network and future infrastructure projects. It has already created the UK’s first Certificate of Higher Education (CHE) in High Speed Rail and Infrastructure.
The College is using the Eurostar car as a virtual / augmented reality environment. Initially, learners at the college will be able to experience an interactive 3D recreation of the existing Eurostar cab configuration and virtually drive the train.
Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the NCHSR, “We are passionate that our students and apprentices will learn world-class skills from the most experienced employers in the business, using industry-leading equipment.
“The best way to educate Britain’s future engineers and help reduce the national skills shortage is to grant learners access to the kind of apparatus they will become familiar with when they go out to work for businesses in the field.
“This train was world famous for creating the first rail link from London to Paris on the UK’s first high speed rail line. As we look to create more high speed rail in the UK, it is a real coup for the college to bring this working engine, with adaptable VR, into Doncaster.
“From next month, the college will be providing training and work experience for its first full intake of apprentices and learners. The new power car, alongside employer-led courses such as our certificate of higher education in high speed rail and infrastructure, will ensure that our learners have the very best assets and materials to for their education, so that we can help solve Britain’s productivity crisis. We will prepare a future generation of diverse talent for modern engineering and infrastructure projects.
“We’re extremely grateful for all the employer-led support that the college has received to date, and especially to Alstom and Eurostar for this generous donation.”
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “It is beneficial for all those who will be attending the college to learn their skills and train on engines that they will be working on in the future. The college will not only train the rail engineers of the future but also enable businesses to tap into highly skilled and qualified rail engineers that help take them to the next level. For young people looking for a career path into a rewarding and well paid job in an expanding sector, the college should be high on their agenda.
“Doncaster for generations has led the way in the rail industry and the college well and truly cements our position as a rail town.”
Jason Baldock, HS2 Director at Alstom UK & Ireland, added: “It’s a proud moment for all of us today as the UK’s first very high speed train arrives in Doncaster with its stunning new livery. When we built these iconic trains we knew they would be a success, but nobody imagined they would have an inspiring legacy like this after retirement, supporting the next generation of UK rail engineers.
“Alstom are huge supporters of the NCHSR and the great work they are doing here and in Birmingham. We will be continuing to work closely with them as we open our complementary rail academy in Widnes in September. It’s an exciting time for the industry.”
Philippe Mouly, chief operating officer at Eurostar, said: “We are very pleased that the power cars of two of our original Eurostar trains will play a key role in developing the skills and expertise of the rail engineers of the future. These iconic high-speed trains were ground-breaking and have transformed travel between the UK and mainland Europe”.
- The NCHSR has two campuses, in Doncaster and Birmingham, and will open in September. nchsr.ac.uk