HS2 unveils bidders for lucrative £2.75bn train contracts

The shortlist of companies who will compete for the lucrative £2.75bn contract to build the new HS2 fleet have been revealed today.

Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi Rail Europe, Spanish manufacturer Patentes Talgo S.L.U and Siemens PLC will all be in the running for contracts to design, build and maintain at least 54 trains coming into service from 2026.

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

The winner of the contracts will be required to deliver the modern rolling stock that will operate at speeds of up to 225mph and give the UK network a major capacity boost.

The first of the new rolling stock is expected to come off the production line in the early 2020s, and the manufacture of the carriages is expected to create hundreds of jobs as go some way in plugging the skills gap in the industry.  

“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,” said rail minister Paul Maynard.

“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.”

And HS2 managing director for railway operations Chris Rayner added: “It’s great to see such a strong line up of experienced high-tech manufacturing and design talent.

“Together with the successful bidder, HS2 will 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.”

Today’s announcement follows the opening of the National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham and Doncaster a few weeks ago. 

It also comes after a tranche of major HS2 announcements in the summer, including its route, construction contract awards and the shortlist of companies competing for station design and master development contracts.

This huge step forward also comes amidst some bad press for HS2, as an MP this week accused former chief executive Simon Kirby of “defrauding taxpayers.”

This was after the company’s chief financial officer Steve Allen resigned over irregularities in HS2’s redundancy payments that were revealed in the summer.

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Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 10:20

Will these new trains be built as 10-Car, 11-Car or 12-Car trains for HS2. Whoever wins the contract to manufacture new HS2 trains whilst HS2 is slowly getting the go ahead.

David   02/11/2017 at 10:48

We normally start by specifying a train length, rather than number of carriages. "Classic compatible" sets will be 200m and "captive" units will be 400m.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 11:08

@David. Perhaps you are right.

David   02/11/2017 at 12:34

Same with Crossrail, 200m turned out to be 9*23m rather than 10*20m.

Graham Smith   02/11/2017 at 15:25

Do we really need trains that will do 225mph in such a small country? Will the trains ever be able to get up to their max speed on such short tracks? Typical of politicians to jump on the 'HIGH SPEED' buzz and ignore the need to improve other routes.

Mikeb   02/11/2017 at 16:55

@David. I still do not like the idea of "captive" and "classic compatible" trains - they should all be of the latter type. If there was some unforeseen future problem on HS2, such as a power failure or, heaven forbid, an accident which could take time to resolve, the captive sets will be marooned - unable to divert via the WCML.

David Reynolds   03/11/2017 at 13:19

I am, on balance, pro HS2 - but I wish ministers would stop with the disengenous suggestion that HS2 will connect cities 'across' the north and midlands. It will do nothing of the sort. Until this issue east-west connectivity is addressed we have no chance of creating an 'economy that works for everyone' (copyright Teresa May). Having watched dispatches earlier in the week,seeing the TfN is essentially going to be a toothless quango, I'm not optimistic about HS3 happening any time soon. More lip service from Westminster.......

JB   04/11/2017 at 03:29

I quite agree with Graham Smith. I think the Govt's priorities should be re-assessed. Being a small country, our existing express trains already provide.adequate journey times. Far better to re-open some useful closed routes to provide better connectivity and capacity. The money saved would be better spent on the NHS, the Police, the Fire Service, Education and other social services (including country buses).

Rupe   04/11/2017 at 12:20

@MikeB. I agree with flexibility! I think the constraint is capacity. The media likes to say HS2 is about speed - but it's primarily about capacity. WCML is nearly full. Once HS2 starts, more services will be added. So they wouldn't all fit on WCML. So some can't be diverted. So some may as well take advantage of being captive to be bigger & quicker.

Mikeb   05/11/2017 at 17:43

@Rupe. Yes I agree that HS2 should be about capacity - not speed. However, "captive" sets will be just that - captive on HS2, unable to divert on to the WCML in the event of emergency.

Roger, Sheffield & Glossop   06/11/2017 at 07:44

No-one's reporting that Alstom & Siemens have both been announced as bidders just as they're in the lead-in to merger. Given the time lag, it'll be interesting to see which of the two designs goes forward as the Alstom-Siemens contender.

Mark Hare   06/11/2017 at 12:26

@JB and @Graham Smith - HS2 is not about reducing journey times, as others have said it's about increasing capacity on the north-south corridor as the ECML and WCML are at or near capacity, despite for example the £9bn upgrade of the WCML to increase line speeds and capacity. The anti-HS2 luddites really need to get their heads out of the sand and acknowledge the purpose of HS2 and the benefits it will bring. I read elsewhere in the press that Talgo are considering building a manufacturing plant in the UK, no doubt to build these trains if they are successful bidders but also other trains for other operators. Or maybe of course I'm imagining it, as the UK is doomed since Brexit, apparently.

Vivek   07/11/2017 at 11:46

Let's start somewhere first with High-speed...rather have some than none. Then we can build on any successes we realise (as a country)

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