TWO possible designs of trains for HS2 have been unveiled today, which is the deadline for bids to HS2 Ltd.
The contract on offer is for at least 54 trains, and is worth £2.75 billion.
One of the proposals has come from Alstom and the other from Bombardier and Hitachi.
Alstom has built TGVs in France, Avelia Liberty in the USA and AGVs in Italy. It also built the first generation of Eurostar trains and Pendolinos for Virgin on the West Coast Main Line.
Alstom’s managing director in the UK and Ireland Nick Crossfield said: ‘Alstom’s vision is to make HS2 trains a timeless design classic, with a passenger experience that is as smooth, calm and spacious as it is high speed. Alstom is excited to unveil this proposed train for HS2, which is the most important economic regeneration project in Britain for decades.’
A separate proposal has been published by a consortium of Hitachi and Bombardier, which has already built the Italian Frecciarossa ETR1000s.
Hitachi Rail’s managing director Karen Boswell said: ‘Hitachi-Bombardier’s Great British train for HS2 would be a shining example of British ingenuity. Our bid, if successful, would bring significant benefits for economies and communities, while truly transforming connectivity and passengers’ experience.’
Her colleague at Bombardier, UK president Phil Hufton, added: ‘HS2 is this generation's chance to transform our country. Our Great British train will connect our great cities and improve the journeys of every passenger. HS2’s vision is to be a catalyst for growth across Britain – we are ready to make that happen.’
The first fleet for HS2 is expected to be a compromise design suitable for the high speed line but also for connecting classic routes, which restrict the size of trains to the British loading gauge.
Nothing has been said yet about where the trains could be built, but Bombardier and Hitachi can both offer manufacturing locations in England, at Derby and Newton Aycliffe.
Although Alstom has not built trains in Britain since it closed the Washwood Heath plant near Birmingham in 2004, its new maintenance and refurbishment centre at Wigan could also be used for manufacturing.
The contract to build the first tranche of HS2 trains is expected to be awarded next year, while the HS2 timetable sets out an opening date of 2026 between London and Birmingham, with the extensions to Manchester and Leeds due to follow in 2033.