UK: The deadline to submit bids for the estimated £2·75bn contract to design, manufacture and maintain the High Speed 2 train fleet passed at midday on June 5. Project promoter HS2 Ltd will now evaluate the five bids received and expects to announce the winner in early 2020, with entry into service planned from 2026.

HS2 Ltd is seeking least 54 trainsets with a maximum speed of 360 km/h; these would be ‘classic compatible’ to enable them to run through from Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands onto existing infrastructure to serve destinations including York, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Alstom, Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi Rail Europe, Talgo and Siemens Mobility were shortlisted for the contract in November 2017. CAF was added the following year ‘in the interest of maintaining robust competition’, after Bombardier Transportation and Hitachi announced a joint bid and the now-cancelled merger of Alstom and Siemens Mobility was planned.


Alstom said its offer was based on a ‘world class, modern and flexible train which is as comfortable on the conventional network as it is on the new HS2 infrastructure’. This would be ‘a timeless design classic, with a passenger experience that is as smooth, calm and spacious as it is high speed’, said Nick Crossfield, Managing Director for Alstom in the UK & Ireland.

Alstom highlighted its record in the high speed sector, including the supply of TGVs in France, AGV sets delivered to Italo-NTV in Italy, the Avelia Liberty sets currently being built for Amtrak in the USA and high speed trains in service in Morocco and South Korea.

Alstom supplied the Pendolino trains used on the UK’s West Coast Main Line, and said it had been the first manufacturer to form a partnership with the National College for High Speed Rail to deliver training on a UK site. It was also a ‘key investor in UK rail expertise’ with its Transport Technology Centre in Widnes.


A joint bid was submitted by Hitachi and Bombardier Transportation.

‘Hitachi-Bombardier’s Great British train for HS2 would be a shining example of British ingenuity’, said Hitachi Rail Managing Director Karen Boswell. ‘Our bid, if successful, would bring significant benefits for economies and communities, while truly transforming connectivity and passengers’ experience.’

Bombardier’s President UK, Phil Hufton, said ‘HS2 is this generation's chance to transform our country’ and ‘our Great British train will connect our great cities and improve the journeys of every passenger’.

Hitachi highlighted its work on Japan’s ‘world-renowned’ Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’, while Bombardier pointed to its international experience in Europe and on the world’s largest high speed network in China.

The two companies have worked together to supply Frecciarossa 1000 trainsets for Italy’s Trenitalia, which they said was the ‘the fastest yet quietest in-service high speed train in Europe’. This is designed to operate at 360 km/h, although it currently runs at up to 300 km/h.


CAF CEO & Chairman Andrés Arizkorreta said HS2 is ‘an iconic project, one which we consider to be business critical.’

The company is proposing a variant of its Oaris family. ‘Oaris uses the latest technology to offer high speed travel and has demonstrated its capacity to operate at speeds over 360 km/h, combined with the advantages of proven reliability, comfort and safety’, said CAF UK director Richard Garner, adding that ‘our trains meet the highest international standards for passenger experience, noise reduction and environmental sustainability.’

CAF has a manufacturing plant at Newport in Wales, and has contracts to supply DMUs for the Northern, West Midlands and Wales & Borders franchises. It employs 800 people across the UK, which is expected to increase to 1 000 by 2020. The company also maintains high speed train in Spain, Turkey and Italy.

Siemens Mobility

‘Our team has worked tirelessly to develop an offer that transforms how passengers experience high speed trains and set the standard for other global high speed rail systems to follow’, said William Wilson, CEO of UK business Siemens Mobility Ltd. ‘I am confident Siemens’ bid will offer HS2 the best combination of value to passengers, taxpayers and the UK economy.’

He said the company’s UK rail presence, technical knowledge and global high speed experience makes Siemens an ‘ideal partner’, highlighting the Velaro family of trainsets used by Eurostar in the UK and also operating in countries including Spain, China, Russia and Germany.

The company has been promoting its Velaro Novo concept, which is designed to improve energy efficiency by up to 30% compared to earlier designs.


Talgo is proposing a train from its Avril family. It said Talgo trains feature 'unique technology, proven over many years, which ensures world-class passenger experience and comfort, while maximising seating capacity and minimising carbon footprint and maintenance costs'.

Talgo UK's Jon Veitch said 'we see many opportunities across the UK rail market, with its increasingly challenging demand for more capacity and a passenger-focused offering'.