The University of Birmingham, through the Schools of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering and Civil Engineering, is to play a key role in the training of engineers working on the HS2 rail link, following the announcement that the National College for High Speed Rail will have its headquarters in the city.

Birmingham fought off competition from Derby and Manchester to be chosen alongside Doncaster as the home of the College, which will make use of the internationally leading expertise at the University’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) – the largest railway research group in Europe and a unique resource for helping train the next generation of engineers.

Today’s Government announcement follows the news that Birmingham will also be the location of the new headquarters for HS2 construction.

Professor Jon Binner, Deputy Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘The University of Birmingham is delighted that the city has been chosen as a location for the new, elite National College focusing on HS2 and the rail industry. Through our internationally leading Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, as well as other parts of the University, we will support the new College strongly and are sure that it will be a tremendous success. We are all looking forward very much to seeing it operational.’

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: ‘It is an honour for the city of Birmingham to have not only the headquarters for HS2 construction but now also the National College for High Speed Rail. Clearly, having the two in the same city offers exciting synergies and the BCRRE will be a tremendous asset to the new College.’

The bid for the College was led by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), with partners including the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council. Central to the submission was the involvement of BCRRE and its multidisciplinary team of nearly 100 people whose work is at the heart of plans to transform the UK’s railway network over the next 30 years.

As well as having a hand in the training and continuing development of the College’s teachers, BCRRE will advise the College on best practice from similar overseas projects and offer access to a wide range of high-quality facilities. BCRRE will also contribute to the governance of the College and provide pathways into higher education for the College’s students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Andrew Cleaves, board director of GBSLEP responsible for transport, said: ‘This win is great news for Birmingham and is a further sign of the success and growing confidence in our region. We’re obviously delighted to have the National College for High Speed Rail coming to our city, which is fast becoming the national hub for the delivery of HS2, and we look forward to working with our colleagues in Doncaster on progressing this project as things gather pace.’

The headquarters of the College will be located at Birmingham Science Park in Aston.


For further information, please contact Stuart Gillespie in the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 9041 or at Out of hours, please call +44 (0)7789 921165 or email the press office.

  • The University of Birmingham was named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/14.
  • The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education brings together a multidisciplinary team from across the University to tackle fundamental railway engineering problems. The team actively engages with industry, other universities through Rail Research UK-A, and international partners. The centre also delivers the MSc postgraduate programme in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration. The centre’s aim is to provide fundamental scientific research, knowledge transfer and education to the international railway community.