Political rivals embrace at the opening of the city’s railway training center

Wolverhampton Council Leader Ian Brookfield kisses Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, on the Wellington Road campus of the City of Wolverhampton College

The opening of a new railway training center at a local college is not the most spectacular initiative, but it is undoubtedly another step in the evolution of Wolverhampton, which may have only just begun dragging himself along after years of slump.

The center, located on the Wellington Road campus of Wolverhampton College in Bilston, features over 40 meters of track so students can gain hands-on experience by learning the skills needed to build and maintain railway lines.

It is the first in the country to offer training on “slab track” technology, which is used in the construction of high speed rail lines such as the HS2, and will also provide training on traditional railway lines. iron and tram.

It will offer courses to newcomers to the industry, as well as existing employees looking to upgrade their skills, while free training will be offered to the unemployed.

The center includes more than 40 meters of railway track so that students can gain hands-on experience

Thousands of jobs in the rail industry are expected to be created in the region over the next few years, and it is here that much of the training will take place. The installation is the latest in a long line of developments born out of a strong working relationship between two men who don’t exactly agree in a political sense.

While Mayor Andy Street never claims to be a “really blue” Tory, he is certainly not on the same side of the political fence as Councilor Ian Brookfield, who once said he shared similar values. by Jeremy Corbyn. Yet they have largely succeeded in putting aside their partisan differences to work together for the good of the city.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and this particular partnership has so far resulted in investments including a new station, the development of i9 offices and the town home to the National Brownfield Institute.

Mr Street has always been committed to working with leaders from all parties for the good of the region, and in the case of Wolverhampton this has certainly been true.

The college is the first in the country to offer training in “slab track” technology

In an era when Labor and Tories were divided into warring camps, such collaboration between politicians of different stripes has become all too rare.

It was not all easy. Mr Brookfield angered area Tories last year when he claimed the town had been wronged by the government over Towns Fund money.

They said he was ungrateful, but he said he just wanted the best for the city.

Everything now appears to be water under the bridge.

And this friendship beyond the political divide continues to work for the betterment of a city where many challenges remain.

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