Eurostar donates two trains to new high speed rail college

Eurostar Trans Manche Super Train

Students studying at the new National College for High Speed Rail are to get hands-on experience of the kind of trains they will be dealing with when HS2 eventually begins operations.

The college, which has its main campus in Birmingham with a subsidiary in Doncaster, is to receive a donation of two former Eurostar trains.

Train manufacturer Alstom has been working with Eurostar in order to complete the donation.

Alstom built the UK’s first high speed trains for Eurostar, the classic original e300/ Class 373 – or Trans Manche Super Train – which have carried over 160 million passengers between the UK and mainland Europe.

Following Eurostar’s decision to retire some of these hard-working vehicles, two of the power cars will be given to the new college. The two cars are currently being fully refurbished by Alstom.

The power cars are the first and last carriages in the Eurostar. They are the instantly recognisable ‘nose’ and ‘tail’ of the train that ran between Paris, Brussels and London.

The new college is set to begin its first courses in September and the trains will hopefully be in place by then.

Students at the college will receive the specialist training, skills and qualifications that will be required to build HS2 and future rail projects.

The donation provides the students with the opportunity to gain vital experience of  existing high-speed technology.

Jason Baldock, HS2 Director at Alstom, said: “HS2 will bring huge benefits to passengers, but even more crucial is the legacy of skills, apprenticeships and jobs it will create, all over the country. This is why Alstom and Eurostar are donating these two trains to the National College for High Speed Rail.”

Clair Mowbray, Chief Executive at the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “This generous donation of two power cars allows us as a world-class college to offer our students the opportunity to develop real-life skills using industry-leading technology. Support like this is crucial for us to ensure that we can properly train and prepare the future workforce for the rail and infrastructure industries.

“We are very grateful for the support we have received so far from business and industry leaders. As an employer-led college, we are still keen to hear from employers wishing to show support in addressing the current engineering and rail skills gap. If you’d like to get involved and work with us to give our young people an insight into the opportunities in this industry, then please contact the college.”

Philippe Mouly, Chief Operating Officer at Eurostar, added: “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.”

Working closely with the National College for High Speed Rail, Alstom is also building its own training academy in Widnes as part of a new technology centre in the region. The Alstom Academy for Rail will open in September and initially support 65 apprenticeship places.