Funding has been agreed to create one of the most advanced conventional and high-speed rail research facilities in the world in Leeds.
The University of Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration (IHSRSI) aims to revolutionise the way new railway systems are invented, developed and brought into service.
It will be located next to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone and forms the early phase of an ambitious plan involving local authorities and businesses to position the City Region as a UK centre for rail engineering.
The University and rail industry partners have contributed £40m to the capital costs of the project. A further £11m has come from the government, adding to £13m from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal. Every £1 invested by the government requires double-match funding from non-public sources such as business or charities.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair of Network Rail, said: “This new testing facility will be one of the most advanced in the world and will revolutionise the UK’s approach to high-speed rail system design and implementation.
“Not only will it reduce the number of issues we see on the operational railway, it will help to bring economic growth and jobs to the area for many years to come. Network Rail is keen to support this bold initiative by the University of Leeds.”
Bombardier Transportation designs and builds trains for the UK and further afield. Working with Hitachi, it has developed the Frecciarossa 1000 for the Italian rail network – the fastest and quietest high-speed train in Europe.
Robert Davies, High Speed Train Bid Director at Bombardier Transportation, said: “The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration will be a very significant addition to the UK’s rail capability, and we are already engaging with the institute on how we can use the facilities it will offer for the trains that we design and build in Britain.”