HS2 reveals bidders in race for £2.75 billion trains contract.(GOV.UK)

HS2 Ltd today revealed the train-builders vying to deliver Britain’s next generation of state-of-the-art high speed trains, which will carry tens of thousands of people every day across the UK’s new high speed network and beyond.

Operating at speeds of up to 225mph (360kph), the new fleet will deliver unparalleled levels of reliability, speed and comfort as well as providing much-needed extra capacity between the UK’s major cities and giving a boost to high tech skills and expertise in the UK.

The shortlisted bidders are: Alstom Transport; Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd; Hitachi Rail Europe; Patentes Talgo S.L.U and Siemens PLC. They will all be invited to tender for the contracts, which will cover the design, build and maintenance of at least 54 trains coming into service from 2026.

Following on from the opening of the new National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham and Doncaster, this is the latest milestone passed as High Speed Two (HS2) becomes a reality. In total, HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships both directly in construction and also across the UK-wide supply chain.

The first trains will begin to roll off the production line in the early 2020s. The investment is expected to create hundreds of jobs and boost Britain’s skills and expertise in the high speed rail sector.

Welcoming the shortlist, HS2 Minister Paul Maynard said:

Thousands of skilled British jobs and apprenticeships will be created by HS2, which gets a step closer as we reveal the companies shortlisted to build the high speed trains.

HS2 will see some of the world’s fastest trains connecting our great cities across the north and Midlands, creating an economy that works for everyone. But announcements like this show how the benefits of HS2 will resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway. HS2’s legacy of jobs and skills is already being created.

Chris Rayner, HS2 Ltd Managing Director – Railway Operations, said:

It’s great to see such a strong line up of experienced high-tech manufacturing and design talent. Together with the successful bidder, HS2will deliver some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, engineered to provide seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys.

Starting from 2026, our trains will be used by tens of thousands of people every day, transforming links across the Midlands and the North and providing much-needed extra capacity between Britain’s major cities.

Providing a world class passenger experience is at the heart of the requirements for the £2.75 billion contract. The new trains will also serve destinations beyond the core HS2 network, including York, Newcastle, Liverpool, the North West, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The new trains will be required to meet HS2’s design and performance needs and the highest standards internationally for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability, while maximising skills, employment and growth opportunities.

All 5 bidders will be invited to tender in spring 2018, with contracts awarded in 2019.

The successful bidder will also maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham. The area will also be home to the HS2 Network Control Centre, which will together create hundreds of skilled jobs.