HS2 college takes delivery of former Eurostar train

The Eurostar power car arrives at the National College for High Speed Rail
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A former Eurostar train has completed its final journey to Birmingham.

The 25-tonne power car, which was previously used to whisk more than 160 million passengers from London to Paris and Brussels at speeds of more than 180mph, has been donated to the city’s new National College for High Speed Rail.

The vehicle has been refurbished by original manufacturer Alstom after Eurostar retired it from service.

The power car, part of the original e300/ Class 373, or Trans Manche Super Train – which were originally built in Birmingham, France and Belgium, is set for a new lease of life helping future rail engineers being trained at the college.

The vehicle arrived at its new home on the back of a low loader truck and was winched into place on a 700-metre length of rail track which had previously been donated to the college by British Steel.

A refurbished Eurostar train arrives at the National High Speed Rail College in Birmingham

To prepare for its arrival at the college, the power car has undergone extensive refurbishment by Alstom, which has included an overhaul to its original livery to incorporate the colourful branding of the National College for High Speed Rail.

The college is using the space inside the power car as a virtual / augmented reality classroom, which will incorporate the use of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Initially, learners at the college will be able to experience an interactive 3D recreation of the existing Eurostar cab configuration. They will be able to virtually drive the train and make use of various digital screens which will use leap motion tracking.

The college has also received a bogie – the wheel set for a carriage – donated by Lucchini Unipart Rail. Businesses Van Elle and Rhomberg Sersa were instrumental in providing and arranging the transportation of the piece of equipment.

The college is set to play a key role in generating the UK’s future generation rail engineers, particularly those who will design and build the new £50bn HS2 rail network.

The college, which welcomes its first intake next month, has already created the UK’s first Certificate of Higher Education (CHE) in High Speed Rail and Infrastructure.

It is staging a clearing event between 2-4pm on Thursday (August 24) for any A-level students interested in taking up one of its courses.
The college, which lies at the heart of the national HS2 network, is key to the success of the Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy – adopted by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with support from central Government and HS2 Ltd.

Predictions are that the new railway will eventually generate an additional £14bn GVA to the UK economy. In terms of employment, estimates are it will deliver 104,000 jobs; 2,000 apprenticeships and an increase in skills. There will be additional support for local businesses and improved accessibility, with over two million people connected to the two HS2 station sites in central Birmingham and the airport interchange.