NCHSR Doncaster front

National College for High Speed Rail

NCHSR is part of how we are steadily transforming technical education in this country, training up a new generation of skilled young people and the existing workforce so that British business has the skills it needs and people have the opportunities they want – a win-win for everyone."

Justine Greening | Previous Secretary of State for Education

National Industry Awards won
Client satisfaction
Delivered by local Doncaster supply chain

Creating the foundation for the UK's biggest infrastructure project, and making the UK a world leader for high speed rail.

In a seminal moment for equipping the industry with future skills in connection with the proposed High Speed Rail upgrade, Doncaster Metropolitan Council required the provision of a new training college for both full and part time students. NCHSR Doncaster will play a key role in generating the workforce who will design and build the UK’s new high-speed rail network and future infrastructure projects.

This landmark building has been designed to inspire and motivate its students: high quality, flexible teaching and learning environments have been designed to create a clear identity synonymous with delivery of high quality training and education.

The college comprises 7600m2 of teaching and workshop space and includes significant specialist rail equipment such as 150m of external track and catenary.

A three-storey workshop area houses two train tracks with maintenance pits, complete with lighting and power for train engine maintenance and repair. The building also features an external canopy area for three additional train tracks which will be used for training

Meeting the design intent, the client was provided with a building with low running costs thanks to early engagement. A whole life-cycle costing exercise was undertaken early in pre-construction, which informed specification choices.

Social Value

In a major boost for the local economy, 77% of the budget of the National College for High Speed Rail project was delivered by supply chain partners located within Doncaster postcodes, surpassing the initial 70% target set for the project.

During a ‘Meet the Buyer’ Event, Willmott Dixon met a local painting company that had not previously worked on the supply chain. As a result of the event, the company was registered as a supply chain partner and awarded a work package of over £200,000 to spray all of the steel throughout the building. The company is now working on further projects in the Doncaster area.

Development of a Community Investment Strategic Plan in consultation with the client and National College for High Speed Rail.

BIM and Digital Drivers for success

Pioneering digital technologies, Virtual Reality was used to engage key stakeholders across the project, offering an immersive virtual experience of what the completed building would feel like. This helped the client to have a greater understanding of the finished building and its functionality prior to project completion.

The use of BIM on this project, and its sister NCHSR project in Birmingham, enabled a coordinated approach with supply chain partners and designers, which delivered significant efficiency savings for the client.

Beyond the project lifetime

Delivering the project in a digital manner created ongoing benefits following project completion. With BIM data outputs, post-handover work was eliminated for the estates department, enabling them to operate the building efficiently, immediately after handover.

In line with a continuous improvement approach, the Level 2 BIM model was handed over for future use as a learning resource.

The project was handed over on time and on budget with zero defects and has been recognised through a number of awards – six in the last year alone:

Best of the Best Award – Constructing Excellence Yorkshire & Humber – 2018

Building Project of the Year – Constructing Excellence Yorkshire & Humber – 2018

Best Education Project – LABC – 2018

Winner of Winner’s award – LABC – 2018

Overall Design – RIBA Yorks and North East – 2018

Sustainability – RIBA Yorks and North East – 2018

Digital Construction Project of the Year – Constructing Excellence Yorkshire & Humber – 2017

Digital/Innovation Category Winner – RISE awards – 2017

Client of the Year – Doncaster Borough Council - 2016

Doncaster, for generations, has always led the way in the rail industry and the college well and truly cements our position as a rail town."

Ros Jones
Mayor of Doncaster

I cannot praise the team and the build enough. The team have gone out of their way to assist even post-handover. The job was ahead of schedule and was handed over two or three weeks earlier which gave additional time to pay attention to commissioning, snagging and cleaning aspects."

Jason Allibone
Project Manager at NCHSR

Case Study Slider Bar Doncaster Borough Council
Case Study Slider Bar Willmott Dixon 191108 113659
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Project value

£21.2 million

Client Satisfaction - Operations


Client Satisfaction - Aftercare


Local labour within Doncaster postcodes


Local labour within 20 miles


Local spend within 20 miles


Social Value generated


Awards won


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