Doncaster rail bosses on track for bringing business to town

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Rail bosses from across Doncaster were on track for a meeting aimed at bringing millions of pounds of business steaming into town.

The latest Doncaster Rail Partnership meeting saw more than 50 people from rail and engineering firms discover details about the biggest rail and infrastructure projects in the country.

The private sector rail partnership, coordinated by Doncaster Council, set up the Centre for Rail Engineering And Technical Excellence (CREATE) which is bidding to bring the High Speed Rail College to Yorkshire.

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “CREATE and this unique rail partnership is a perfect example of the private and public sectors coming together to foster important relationships and supply chain opportunities. We have a thriving rail and engineering sector and these ‘meet the buyer’ events are an ideal way for firms to find out about potential contracts and network with key players in the industry. Doncaster is pulling out all the stops to bring the High Speed Rail College to the region. It will be a huge boost for firms right across Yorkshire and the North-East if we are successful.”

Presentations were given by CompeteFor.com which offered supply chain opportunities for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They are now being used by Crossrail, HS2 and other major infrastructure schemes to give firms the opportunity to bid for appropriate work packages.

VolkerFitzpatrick, the contractor behind the delivery of the £70million Hitachi maintenance depot in Doncaster, showcased contract opportunities and Robert Bell, of Archomai outlined emerging opportunities in the North.

The event was well received by the big turnout of companies. Ian Knowles, Transformation Director at Amey Sersa, commented: “We have recently set up in Doncaster after winning a large Network Rail contract and see the town as a prime location for our UK operations. This was a great opportunity to establish ourselves and meet key contacts from major players in the rail industry based right here in Doncaster.”

The presenters also welcomed the opportunity to meet Doncaster’s Rail Partnership. Scott Smith, Programme Director for CompeteFor.com said: “It was a pleasure to be asked to present to the Doncaster Rail Partnership and find out about the booming rail sector in the area. We have met a large number of rail and engineering firms who by using CompeteFor.com will gain access to supply chain opportunities for some of the biggest infrastructure projects ever seen in the country and become part of our thriving community of buyers and suppliers.”

James Corker, contracts manager for VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “This is an exciting time for the rail sector with huge investment going into upgrading the network infrastructure nationwide which will ultimately shape and improve the future of travel for all our rail users. VolkerFitzpatrick is proud to be involved in building the new depot in Doncaster as part of the Intercity Express Programme. Our aim is to maximise the involvement of local businesses and people and will be working closely with CREATE and Doncaster Council to achieve this.”

Robert Bell, CEO, Archomai, commenting on the Doncaster Rail Partnership said: “I welcomed the opportunity to outline some of the global developments that will bring opportunities on a massive scale for businesses in the North through the opening and expansion of trading corridors. CREATE is in an excellent position to be a knowledge hub for emerging technologies in rail and supporting trade corridors worldwide.”

Doncaster’s High Speed Rail College bid has the support of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, other LEPs from across the North-East, high profile business leaders and partners, universities and colleges, Yorkshire’s chambers of commerce and local authorities from across the region.

An advisory group consisting of representatives from Crossrail, HS2 Limited, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport is expected to make a decision shortly. Doncaster is up against Birmingham, Derby and Manchester for the research and teaching centre.

More information on CREATE and the High Speed Rail College bid is available at: www.businessdoncaster.com