From La Rochelle to Doncaster – AGV ‘Pegase’ carriage completes epic 1,000-mile journey


Landmark collaboration continues to benefit high-speed learners in Doncaster as Alstom delivers AGV 001 Prototype Pegase Carriage to National College for High Speed Rail

Donated by Alstom, an AGV 001 Prototype ‘Pegase’ Carriage – a forerunner for a high-speed service now operating in Italy – is the latest arrival at the National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster.

Built in 2007, the prototype carriage previously formed part of a 7-car AGV train which was used to validate the AGV concept. In its past life, the train has undertaken functional testing in La Rochelle, France, and dynamic testing at the Velim Test Centre (Czechia) as well as tests on Italian and French high-speed lines at up to 360kph under 25kV.

Whilst it was never fully certified for passenger transportation, the train has travelled on dedicated lines and is one of the few trains in the world capable of travelling at speeds exceeding 360km per hour.

The train will now have a new lease of life in Doncaster by playing a critical role in educating Britain’s next generation of engineers. It will facilitate teaching and learning in High Speed Rail and Infrastructure and Rail Engineering pathways in rolling stock, power systems and systems engineering: covering the design, maintenance and operation of a very high-speed train.

Learners will be using the carriage and peripherals to work on practical projects. On this model, students can work with aluminium alloy construction, articulated traction, suspended transformers and permanent magnet asynchronous motors.

Applications range from design principles around speed/weight and improved CapEx and OpEx, to different electrification systems to efficient maintenance to enhanced passenger comfort and safety. The College is planning to install passenger information systems and networking.

The delivery of the carriage, which travelled over 1000km from La Rochelle, France to Doncaster is a major boost to the National College for High Speed Rail which has been tasked with preparing the next generation of industry leaders to deliver major infrastructure projects including HS2 and its accompanying infrastructure requirements.

Alstom have previously worked with Eurostar to donate completely refurbished vehicles for learners at the college’s two sites in Doncaster and Birmingham and have also built their own training academy in Widnes, in collaboration with the College, marking the business’s commitment to the sector in the UK.

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail, said:

“The arrival of the Pegasus carriage which has been kindly donated by Alstom, is another great boost for our unique training offer, which combines learning at the College with hands on experience. With this kind of support our learners can put the skills they gain into practice right from the start, ensuring the next generation of talent is ready for the future of high-speed rail in the UK.”

Adrian Grigg, Alstom Tender Leader for HS2 Rolling Stock said:

“We are thrilled that the AGV carriage has been successfully delivered to the National College for High Speed Rail, Doncaster campus. Our landmark collaboration with the college continues and we are delighted that learners will now have the opportunity to develop skills using industry-leading techniques on this impressive train, so they are ready to deliver the future of high-speed rail in the UK. It joins Donnystar and Brumstar the two power cars we donated last year with Eurostar, so the college is building up a brilliant fleet of Alstom high speed trains.”