In a landmark day for the UK rail sector two international giants – which employ over 5,000 people in Britain – have confirmed they intend to submit a joint £2.75 billion bid to design, build, deliver a fleet of bespoke state-of-the-art high speed trains for HS2.
The proposed partnership, building upon recent high-speed success in Italy, offers HS2 a world class team that has established manufacturing and servicing centres in Britain.
The collaboration brings together a deep understanding of very high-speed rail with a strong reputation for building and maintaining highly reliable, cutting-edge and iconic trains.
This world class team can deliver the most efficient and advanced rolling stock for Europe’s most demanding and exciting transport project.
The trains will run on a new high-speed network and connect 8 out of 10 of Britain’s largest cities, increasing capacity, delivering greater comfort, faster journeys, while contributing to prosperity and growth.
The joint bid would support the UK Government’s aims of boosting UK jobs, skills and British supply chain.
Bombardier and Hitachi’s combined UK operations include train factories in Derby and Newton Aycliffe, extensive UK supply chains, together with a network of maintenance facilities across England, Scotland and Wales.
The companies are already developing a new generation of engineers and mechanical skills, 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 £2.75bn contract on offer is for a minimum fleet of 54 units that will run on Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands. The newly designed rolling stock will also be uniquely ‘classic compatible’ so that they can travel on the current network to cities such as York, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The formal tendering process is due to start later this year, with contract award in late 2019.
Hitachi Rail managing director Karen Boswell said: “HS2 will form the backbone of Britain’s future rail network and is a major investment in our future prosperity.
“By joining together in partnership with Bombardier, we will draw on a huge wealth of UK experience and the best in modern technology – including our pioneering ‘bullet train’ experience. Our aim is to deliver a new British icon that will be recognised around the world – a Spitfire for the British railway.”