Four locations across England have been shortlisted to become the home of the new National College for High-Speed Rail.
Skills minister Matthew Hancock announced that the new college hub would be built in either Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster or Manchester, with a number of so-called "spokes" in other towns and cities across the country.
Together, these centres will train the next generation of engineers working on the HS2 rail project.
Mr Hancock said that many locations had made strong bids. "It is clear there is already some excellent partnership activity taking place between education providers and the rail industry, resulting in some outstanding provision," he said.
"For the college to be a success, it will need to bring together this expertise."
The government has appointed Terry Morgan, chairman of Crossrail and the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering, to advise on the new college development. He said: "I came from a vocational background and I think the high-speed rail college is a fantastic opportunity to inspire a new generation of motivated young people to follow this pathway."
Representatives from Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester will give presentations to an advisory group on 27 June, before a final decision is made in July.