Artist illustration of Hitachi-Alstom JV trains

HS2 Ltd awards Hitachi-Alstom JV landmark rolling stock contracts

HS2 Ltd has confirmed the rolling stock contracts for the new high speed route has been awarded to a Hitachi/Alstom joint venture, with the high speed trains set to be built at their factories in Derby and County Durham.

Estimated at a value of £2bn, delivery of the new generation of high speed trains is expected to support 2,500 jobs across the UK.

Under the terms of the awarded contract, the joint venture (JV) will design, build and maintain a fleet of 54 state-of-the-art high speed trains to operate on HS2.

The new rolling stock will be capable of speeds of up to 225mph (360km/h), with the fully electric trains also operating on the existing network to destinations such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West, alongside running on the HS2 line between London, the West Midlands and Crewe.

Building on some of the latest technology seen on the European high speed network and in Japan’s Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’, the new UK trains will be some of the fastest, quietest and most energy efficient high speed trains operating anywhere in the world.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s announcement places Britain firmly at the forefront of the high-speed rail revolution with these state-of-the-art trains serving communities right across the country from London to Glasgow.

“This is another landmark step in the delivery of HS2 which will open up new employment and leisure opportunities for millions of people, levelling up opportunity for generations to come.”

Artist illustration of Hitachi-Alstom JV

The design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the new trains will be shared between Hitachi Rail and Alstom.

Hitachi Rail’s facility at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham will carry out the first stages including vehicle body assembly and the initial fit out.

The second stage of fit out and testing will then be done in Derby, at Alstom’s Litchurch Lane factory.

Further supporting the UK rail supply chain, all of the bogies for the new trains will be assembled and maintained at Alstom’s facility in Crewe – which is the first time since 2004 that both jobs have been done in the UK.

Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe facility also recently completed an £8.5m investment into new welding and painting facilities, which will assist with the manufacturing of the 432 HS2 bodyshells.

The first train is expected to roll off the production line around 2027.

The new rolling stock will then enter a period of rigorous testing and commissioning, with the first passengers expected to be carried on the new trains between 2029 and 2033.

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Today is a massive day for HS2.

“The trains that will be built in Derby, Newton Aycliffe and Crewe will transform rail travel – offering passengers unparalleled levels of reliability, speed and comfort and help in the fight against climate change.

“I’d like to congratulate Alstom and Hitachi and I look forward to working with them as together we bring these exciting new trains to passengers across the UK.”

A recent study commissioned by Hitachi-Alstom JV estimated the contract awards could generate benefits of £157m per year across the UK, alongside supporting 2,500 jobs, including apprenticeship and graduate opportunities.

Designed to be fully accessible, the interior layout will be decided following a two and a half year collaborative design process involving HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and the West Coast Partner, the operator of the trains when they first come into service.

The new trains will utilise a pioneering low noise pantograph, the arm which collects power from the overhead wires developed by Hitachi Rail. The technology was first developed in Japan and will make the new HS2 trains quieter than comparable high speed trains and use regenerative braking to boost energy efficiency.

The trains will also be 15% lighter and offer 30% more seats than comparable high speed trains in Europe, such as the Italian ETR1000, also built by a joint venture between Hitachi Rail and Alstom.

Artist illustration of Hitachi-Alstom JV

In order to serve destinations on the existing network as well as HS2, the new trains have been designed to operate seamlessly between the two. It is expected to halve many journey times across the UK, with each train being around 200m long, with the option to couple two units together to create a 400m long train with up to 1,100 seats.

Alongside the design, manufacturing and testing, the contracts also included 12 years of maintenance which could be extended in the future to cover the estimated 35-year life of the rolling stock.

The fleet will be maintained at a new maintenance depot being built by HS2 Ltd at Washwood Heath on the outskirts of Birmingham, creating jobs and additional apprenticeship opportunity.

The Hitachi-Alstom JV will work with HS2 Ltd and Birmingham City Council to support the development of opportunities for employment arising from the construction of the new maintenance depot at Washwood Heath, Birmingham and to provide opportunities for local people to engage in training and development opportunities.

Rail Technology Magazine latest edition Jun/Jul 22

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