Rail revolution opportunity to attract manufacturers

As momentum builds around investment in HS2 and upgrades to UK rail stock, Leeds City Region is taking a compelling message to rail infrastructure, rolling stock and supply chain manufacturers attending Innotrans in Berlin this week with support from key academics from the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds.

Innotrans is the largest rail industry exhibition in the world attracting 3,000 exhibitors and 140,000 delegates over four days.

Leeds City Region is positioning itself at the centre of the UK high speed rail industry. Leeds has been chosen as the location for HS2�s Eastern Rail Supply Depot and is a destination city for HS2 passenger services. As well as the University of Leeds� forthcoming institute for High Speed Rail and System integration and the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield, Yorkshire hosts the world class rail engineering training centre facilities in York and the National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster.

Roger Marsh, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:

�The UK is updating its rail network and fleet of rolling stock. Together with HS2, the amount of investment in rail exceeds that of any other European country. The opportunity to attract inward investors is at a high. Our main purpose at Innotrans is to present Leeds City Region as the ideal location for the operations of foreign owned companies because of our talent pool, Enterprise Zone site incentives and excellent academic track record in this field.�

Professor Simon Iwnicki Director, Institute of Railway Research, University of Huddersfield, said:

�It�s great to represent the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) and the Leeds City Region at INNOTRANS. I�ll be speaking about our latest research and our role in the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN). The IRR, based at the University of Huddersfield, employs 35 research staff so we�re one of the largest railway research institutes in the UK. I�ll present our capabilities to carry out computer simulation and testing of railway vehicles. In fact, we have the UK�s only full size railway roller rig and we support vehicle manufacturers and supply chain partners to develop innovative products and process for the railway industry.�

Professor Woodward Chair of High Speed Rail Engineering and Director of the Institute for High Speed Rail and Systems Integration at the University of Leeds said:

�The Government�s decision to locate the HS2 Rolling Stock Depot near Leeds was a significant move in ensuring the north of England sees substantial benefits from high speed rail.

�It unlocks the potential of the University�s new Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, which will be located alongside the depot. By the end of 2020, the Institute will house new full-scale high-speed capable infrastructure and rolling stock test facilities, complemented by a systems integration centre. When combined with our existing full-scale passenger motion simulator it will provide the only complete whole systems approach to railway engineering in the country.

�We will tackle rail planning, design, construction and manufacturing, creating an unrivalled centre of excellence, studying everything from efficiency, performance and safety of rail, foundations, track and traction systems, to braking, energy harvesting, sensor technology and digital systems.�

More than a transport project, high-speed rail will be a catalyst for hugely increased economic growth opportunities, making the region an even more attractive place as somewhere to invest, expand, live and visit.

An ambitious plan to use HS2 as the spark to create thousands of jobs for the Leeds City Region has been launched this year. Around 300,000 jobs are expected to be created over the period covered by the Leeds City Region HS2 Growth Strategy including 41,000 from proposals set out in the plan, 5,000 from construction and a further 40,000 from the broader economic impact of HS2 which has the potential to add more than �54bn to the region�s economic output.

The transformation of Leeds Station, the improvement of connections along major transport corridors across the Leeds City Region and the regeneration of key sites in Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield, York and the Leeds South Bank are among the schemes which could be accelerated by HS2.

With over 7,000 manufacturing businesses employing over 140,000 people, Leeds City Region offers rail industry investors access to an extensive supply chain and skilled workforce.

If you are attending Innotrans and would like to speak to our team about the opportunities, please contact ken.brockbank@westyorks-ca.gov.uk.