UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has visited Birmingham to see the country’s first high-speed rail college taking shape.

HS2 said with the roof structure currently being completed, the Birmingham site of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) is on course to meet its September 2017 opening date.

A sister site is being built 95 miles away at Doncaster Lakeside; both will play a vital role in delivering the thousands of apprentices and graduates needed to build, operate and maintain HS2.

The college also announced yesterday (October 5) the appointment of its new chief executive, Clair Mowbray. She replaces John Evans, who took up the position in November 2015.

Chris Grayling said: “HS2 will be the backbone of our national rail network and help us build an economy that works for all.

“The significant benefits of the scheme will not just be felt from when the trains start running.

“Work on the new College sites shows the transformational effect that HS2 is already having, creating jobs and supporting economic growth.”

Terry Morgan, chair of the National College for High Speed Rail, added: “I’m extremely pleased to appoint Clair as the new chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail.

“Her commitment and passion for education and strategic development will be vital as we move closer to opening the College in September 2017.”