UK: Five bidders have been shortlisted for the contract to supply ‘at least 54’ trainsets for High Speed 2, project promoter HS2 Ltd announced on November 2.

They are Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation UK, Hitachi Rail Europe, Patentes Talgo and Siemens.

HS2 Ltd expects to issue invitations to tender in spring 2018; the design, manufacturing and maintenance contract with an estimated value of £2·75bn would then be awarded in 2019. The trainsets would enter service from 2026. Maintenance would be undertaken at a dedicated depot to be built at Washwood Heath in Birmingham.

HS2 Ltd said the trainsets designed for a maximum speed of 360 km/h would be required to meet the ‘highest standards internationally for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability, while maximising skills, employment and growth opportunities.’

‘It is great to see such a strong line up of experienced high-tech manufacturing and design talent’, said Chris Rayner, HS2’s Managing Director, Railway Operations. ‘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.’

Responding to the announcement of the shortlist, Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland, said Alstom was ‘committed to using our UK base in Widnes to support the project; to train a whole new generation of apprentices there in our academy; and to work with the UK supply chain to create a sustainable long-term legacy of growth and opportunity’.

Bombardier Transportation said it ‘has the unique capability to design, develop, build and maintain trains in Britain, so we are very excited by the chance to be part of this transformational project’.

Hitachi Rail Europe Managing Director Karen Boswell said the company ‘looks forward to further developing our proposals for this hugely exciting and important project, which will deliver enormous benefits for the whole of the UK.’

Siemens UK’s HS2 Bid Director, Jo Hensher said that ‘based on our extensive experience of building very high speed trains – including for Russia, Spain, China, Germany and most recently for Eurostar in the UK – we know that this project holds enormous transformative potential for the UK economy.’

Talgo is seeking to enter the British market, and Account Manager, UK & Ireland, Jon Veitch said the Spanish company was ‘truly confident in our mobility proposal for the UK’. He said Talgo’s Avril family ‘has already proved to offer the lowest acquisition price and a reduced, predictable lifecycle cost curve along 35 full years in another open, competitive procurement which was awarded in the last year.’