Bombardier and Hitachi to submit joint bid for HS2 trains contract

Photo: Hitachi.

Bombardier Transportation and Hitachi Rail aim to deliver a “Spitfire for the British railway” as they join forces to make a bid for HS2 Phase One’s £2.75 billion rolling stock contract.

A shortlist to build at least 54 conventional compatible trains for Britain’s new high-speed line was released in November. Hitachi and Bombardier were joined by Alstom, Siemens, and Talgo on this shortlist but CAF have since been added to the shortlist as a result of the Bombardier-Hitachi joint venture.

A formal tendering process is due to start later in 2018, with the contract awarded in late 2019.

These trains will run on a new high-speed network that will connect eight out of 10 of Britain’s largest cities, increasing capacity, delivering faster journeys and contributing to prosperity and growth.

Hitachi Rail managing director Karen Boswell said the two aim to deliver a new British icon that will be recognised around the world.

She added: “By joining together in partnership with Bombardier, we will draw on a huge wealth of UK experience and the best in modern technology – including our pioneering ‘bullet train’ experience.”

Both businesses have experience of manufacturing high-speed trains.

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Photo: Hitachi.
Photo: Hitachi.

Hitachi built the original Shinkansen bullet train in Japan in 1964 and it also built and now maintains the country’s only domestic high speed fleet, the Class 395 Javelins.

Bombardier has built more than 3,000 high-speed train carriages for China, including the most recent Zefiro 380.

In Europe, Bombardier has played a part in supporting some of the most prestigious very high-speed developments across the continent, including: four TGV series in France, the AVE S-102  and AVE S-130 in Spain, the ICE family in Germany and the ETR 500 in Italy.

Hitachi and Bombardier previously delivered one of Europe’s fastest trains in Italy the ETR 1000 for Trenitalia – also known as the ‘Red Arrow’ (Frecciarossa) – which has a top speed of 398km/h.

Bombardier and Hitachi’s combined UK operations include train factories in Derby and Newton Aycliffe, extensive UK supply chains, together with a network of maintenance facilities across England, Scotland and Wales. They have a combined base of more than 5,000 members of staff in Great Britain.

Read more: Building HS2’s trains: what you need to know about the 5 bidders