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Competition opened for first HS2 train contract

The competition for the £2.75 billion contract to design, build and maintain Britain’s first high speed train fleet was officially launched yesterday (20 April).

HS2 Ltd started the procurement process for the project, and will work with the winner to develop around 60 state-of-the-art trains for phase one of the network.

The successful bidder will maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for the Washwood Heath site in Birmingham, which is also set to become home to the HS2 Network Control Centre.

The trains are scheduled to be in operation from 2026 between London and the West Midlands, before phase two then connects to Crewe and then Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly in the North West by 2033.

According to HS2 Ltd, hundreds of jobs will be created by the contract and the organisation will work with companies and suppliers to create opportunities for SMEs, boost skills and encourage a wide range of people to join the workforce.

Chris Rayner, managing director of rail operations at HS2 Ltd, says: “HS2 represents a once in a lifetime chance to rebalance the national economy. It will transform travel in this country, connecting eight of the 10 largest cities in the UK when completed, as well as improving capacity for customers and productivity for the economy.

“The priorities and needs of our future passengers are at the centre of our thinking. Quite simply we want every aspect of travelling by HS2 to exceed expectations – from the passenger experience in selecting their journey and getting information, to travelling through our stations, to the train ride itself.

“We challenge bidders to achieve this ambition.”

The contract to provide the initial fleet of trains will be awarded as a single package.

Invitations to tender are expected to be issued to shortlisted bidders in spring 2018 with the contract award following in late 2019.

Future contracts will add to this fleet to provide trains for the second phase of the project in 2033.