The UK Ministry of Transport has started the process of acquiring a fleet of high speed trains for HS2.
The rolling stock contract is for the design, construction and maintenance of up 60 “state-of-the-art” trains, and it will be worth £2.75bn.
“We are looking for a supplier who is capable of delivering and maintaining some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, with designs putting the passenger at their heart,” said Chris Rayner, managing director of railway operations at HS2.
The trains, for phase one of the project from London to Birmingham, will be capable of travelling at 225mph and carrying over 300,000 passengers a day. They will also have to meet noise reduction and environmental sustainability targets, the government said in a statement.
The firm that is eventually awarded the contract will also be expected to maximise skills, employment and growth opportunities.
“Hundreds of jobs will be created in building and maintaining theses trains, representing a great opportunity for British-based businesses and suppliers,” said Chris Grayling, transport secretary.
The announcement, accompanied by an official periodic indicative notice, is meant to prime suppliers for the formal start of the tendering process this spring.
More details about the specifications will be released as part of a pre-qualification questionnaire, following an industry day for potential bidders on 27 March. Invitations to tender will be issued in 2018 and the contract is expected to be awarded in 2019.
Separate contracts for rolling stock for phase two, from Birmingham to Manchester, will be announced in 2033.
The government hopes to get royal assent for phase one soon, and start construction in the spring.
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