HS2 has begun the procurement process which will source up to 60 trains for the first phase of Britain’s new high-speed rail network.
The £2.75 billion contract, which is expected to be awarded in 2019, includes both the supply and maintenance of the new trains for the London to Birmingham route.
The first step involves the publication of the Periodic Indicative Notice (PIN). Following a supplier engagement event in March, Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) will be issued to prospective bidders. This will be followed by formal invitations to tender in 2018.
Separate contracts will be awarded in 2033 for the additional trains needed for Phase Two.
In a statement, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Launching the hunt for a manufacturer of these trains is a major step towards Britain getting a new railway which will carry over 300,000 people a day, improve connections between our great cities, generate jobs, and helping us build an economy that works for all.”
Chris Rayner, HS2 Ltd managing director – railway operations, said: “We are looking for a supplier who is capable of delivering and maintaining some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, with designs putting the passenger at their heart to ensure seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys.
“Starting from 2026, our trains will be used by tens of thousands of people every day, bringing the benefits of high speed rail not only to the core network, but also onward to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.”
The DfT said it expects to receive Royal Assent for Phase One “shortly” and that work is still on course to begin this spring.
Responding to the announcement, Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “These are very exciting times for rail in the UK.
“The whole UK supply chain is gearing up for this opportunity and RIA Members have much to offer, from high quality components to cutting edge software, from detailed design to operational planning.
“HS2 will create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships and the project will showcase the best of British.”