Five rolling stock manufacturers have been shortlisted to build trains for HS2.
The firms in the race for the £2.75 billion contract are: Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi, Talgo and Siemens.
HS2 managing director Chris Rayner said that the successful bidder will deliver some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, engineered to provide seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys.
All bidders will now be invited to tender in spring 2018 for the contracts, which cover the design, build and maintenance of at least 54 high-speed trains. What HS2 has described as the first tranche as its ‘conventional compatible’ fleet.
The contract is due to be awarded in 2019. New trains will roll off the production line in the early 2020s and the first will enter service in 2026.
The trains will operate at speeds of up to 225mph (362km/h) and deliver “unparalleled” levels of reliability and comfort, according to HS2.
They will also provide much-needed capacity between the UK’s major cities, serving destinations beyond the core HS2 network, including York, Newcastle, Liverpool, the North West, Glasgow and Edinburgh,
The new trains will be required to meet HS2’s design and performance needs and the highest standards for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability, while maximising skills, employment and growth opportunities.
The successful bidder will maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath, Birmingham.
HS2 Minister Paul Maynard said: “HS2 will see some of the world’s fastest trains connecting our great cities across the north and Midlands, creating an economy that works for everyone.
“But announcements like this show how the benefits of HS2 will resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway – HS2’s legacy of jobs and skills is already being created.”