Hitachi and Bombardier join forces to bid for £2.75bn HS2 train contract
The HS2 trains could be constructed in Britain if a joint bid between Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation is successful.
The manufacturers announced that they will form a joint venture to compete for the £2.75bn contract to design, build and maintain at least 54 new high-speed trains.
The tendering process opened in November last year and Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation UK, Hitachi Rail Europe, Patentes Talgo and Siemens all offered separate bids.
Hitachi and Bombardier have now teamed up with the intention of building the trains at the former company’s factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and the latter’s plant in Derby. The firms, which also have maintenance facilities across Britain, employ more than 5,000 people in the country.
Bombardier and Hitachi described themselves as a “tried and tested high-speed team”, having already built a high-speed train for Italy. The latter built the original Shinkansen bullet train in Japan in 1964 and continues to develop updated versions.
Hitachi managing director Karen Boswell said the firms will “draw on a huge wealth of UK experience”. She added: “Our aim is to deliver a new British icon that will be recognised around the world - a Spitfire for the British railway.”
Her UK counterpart at Bombardier, Richard Hunter, said: “We will combine both companies’ global high-speed expertise with unrivalled British experience, and help generate skills and prosperity across a number of UK regions.”
The formal tendering process is due to start later this year, with the winner announced in late 2019. The trains will be used for phase one of the £55.7bn high-speed railway, which will link London and Birmingham from December 2026. They will also serve destinations on conventional lines beyond the core HS2 network, including York, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The government also confirmed today that the new HS2 rolling stock depot will be constructed in Leeds which will create up to 125 skilled jobs. The depot will enable 24-hour maintenance of the new trains.