Shortlist for £2.75bn HS2 train building contract to be announced

The government will announce the five companies on the shortlist to land the £2.75bn contract to build the HS2 trains today.

The Transport Secretary told companies in the race to be awarded the £2.75 billion contract to show how “huge opportunities” for British workers will be provided in their bid to build Britain’s fastest trains.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “I am determined to see the great HS2 train building programme create huge opportunities for British workers and drive economic growth in our country.

“Bidders need to push the boundaries and I want to see innovation and ambition in their plans to build the fastest trains in Britain – which I want to pave the way for a new generation of highly skilled British workers, boosting skills, generating employment and strengthening the manufacturing supply chain.

“Britain’s new railway will carry more than 300,000 people a day, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on our existing rail lines, generate jobs and help us build an economy that works for all. But it is crucial that the benefits of HS2 resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway.”

Starting from 2026, the trains will bring igh speed rail not only to the core network between London and the West Midlands, but also onward to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. The successful bidder will maintain the fleet from the dedicated depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham, which will also be home to the HS2 Network Control Centre – together creating hundreds of skilled jobs.

The announcement comes after the opening of the new National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham and Doncaster and after work began on Phase One of the project to connect London and Birmingham.

Invitations to tender are expected to be issued to shortlisted bidders in spring 2018 with contract award following in late 2019. A further competition will be run to provide trains for the second phase of the project which is due to commence services in 2033.

Earlier this year it was announced Derby’s Bombardier had secured a multi-million pound investment to build 90 new trains for South Western passengers. The trains will be based on the Bombardier Aventra platform, which is also being used for the 70 new trains for Crossrail – which is due to open in 2018 as the Elizabeth Line – and for new trains for the London Overground and East Anglia.