Building the British Bullet Train.(Hitachi)

Bombardier Transportation and Hitachi Rail open new HS2 development centre in Birmingham.

(Hitachi Image)

Two British-based global rail giants are opening up a new High Speed 2 bid centre in Birmingham to develop their plans to build an iconic train for the project.

A team of up to 50 experts from both companies, including engineers, designers and environmental specialists, has been put together to work up the proposals.

Based at Millennium Point in Birmingham, overlooking the site of the planned Curzon Street HS2 station, they are already developing their concepts for what will be the fastest train ever operated in the UK.

Britain’s bullet train will offer passengers an unrivalled travel experience as it runs at speeds of up to 360 kp/h on the the new link between the West Midlands and London when it opens in 2026.

The trains will also be specially designed to make them ‘classic compatible,’ so that they are able to travel on the current network to serve cities such as York, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The joint bid team is looking at how best it can support the strategic goals of the Government’s investment in HS2. The development of the major new train fleet can help to boost regional growth, while delivering the skills and training needed to realise the future export potential of the wider high speed rail sector.

The final bid will be submitted from the new Birmingham centre to HS2 Ltd by February 2019 and the £2.7bn contract to design and build 54 trains is due to be awarded in March 2020.

Karen Boswell, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail, said:

“Apart from creating much needed additional rail capacity, one of the main aims of HS2 is to boost regional growth and help re-balance our economy. We felt it was important to reflect this by locating our bid centre in Birmingham, and to further increase Hitachi’s presence across the UK. We aim to build a new British classic train, and our team of experts will be working flat out over the coming months to develop a truly world-class winning bid.”

Richard Hunter, Managing Director UK, Bombardier Transportation, said:

“HS2 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the nation, and in Birmingham that transformation is happening already. The city was the obvious choice for our HS2 bid centre, and it is from here that experts from Bombardier and Hitachi are already developing an iconic train fleet capable of winning the bid for this vital project.”

Rebecca Delmore, Commercial Director, Millennium Point, said:

“The opportunity to host Bombardier Transportation and Hitachi Rail to Millennium Point and support their bid is something we’re really excited to be involved in. HS2 will notably change the whole region, especially Eastside, and Millennium Point has a pivotal role to play as facilitator, which starts now. Our commitment as both Millennium Point the building, and the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, to invest in and support into STEM developments across the region continues to help open doors for Birmingham, as we welcome major players like Bombardier and Hitachi to our doorstep.” 

Notes :

  • Bombardier and Hitachi’s combined UK operations currently employ over 7000 people, that includes train factories in Derby and Newton Aycliffe, extensive regional supply chains, together with a network of maintenance facilities across England, Scotland and Wales. The companies are already developing a new generation of engineers, with a focus on diversity and inclusion to attract new talent into the rail industry. The joint HS2 project would provide a launch pad for new investment in education and learning, adding to their existing partnerships with local schools and the 200 apprentices and graduates who are already employed.
  • The partnership between the two UK-based firms is built on an impressive depth of experience delivering high speed trains internationally. Hitachi original Shinkansen bullet train in Japan in 1964, and, boasting an impeccable safety and reliability record, continues to pioneer the most recent incarnations of the iconic trains. Bombardier offers a depth of experience having built over 3,000 high speed train carriages for China, including the most recent CHR380D.
  • In the UK, Hitachi maintains the country’s only domestic high speed fleet, the Class 395 Javelins, which it built and introduced ahead of the London 2012 Games. The trains, which have run from Ashford to London St Pancras at a top speed of 140mph for almost a decade, are one of the most reliable and popular services in the country. While in Europe, Bombardier has enabled some of the most prestigious very high speed developments across the continent, including four TGV series in France, the AVE S-102  and AVE S-130 in Spain, the ICE family in Germany and the ETR 500 in Italy.
  • Hitachi and Bombardier are a tried and tested high speed team, having already successfully delivered one of Europe’s fastest trains in Italy. With a top speed of 398km/h, the ETR 1000 for Trenitalia – also known as the ‘Red Arrow’ (Frecciarossa) – not only whisks passengers to their destination very quickly, but also offers them great comfort and style; with interiors designed by Bertone, who have worked on classic super-cars, including Lamborghini and Aston Martin.
  • The two companies are also making responsible procurement a cornerstone of their approach, in terms of long-term employment and reducing environmental impact. The ETR 1000 train used 85% recycled materials and the joint bid for HS2 would deploy  the latest noise reduction technology.
  • This Joint Venture is an agreement to share HS2 bidding information between Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation with a view to jointly bid to build a new fleet for HS2. Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation remain competitors in all other markets and competitions.

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