THE competition to build the first fleet of at least 54 trains for HS2 has widened again, because CAF has revealed that it is also bidding for the £2.75 billion contract.
The other contenders are Alstom, Bombardier-Hitachi and Talgo.
CAF is entering its Oaris trains. CAF UK director Richard Garner said: ‘We are delighted to announce that CAF has submitted a bid in response to HS2’s rolling stock invitation to tender.
‘The Oaris platform uses the latest technology to offer high-speed travel and has demonstrated its capacity to operate at speeds over 360 km/h – combined with the advantages of proven reliability, comfort and safety.
‘Exciting and innovative solutions mean our trains meet the highest international standards for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability.
‘HS2’s ambition is to design a transformational rail system that is admired around the world – CAF has the expertise to make that vision a reality.’
CAF is the third bidder which could build its trains for HS2 at least partly in Britain, because it opened a factor at Newport in south Wales last year, where fleets are now being built for Transport for Wales, Northern and West Midlands Railway. As things stand, only Talgo would be likely to build the complete trains in another country, because Alstom, Bombardier and Hitachi could also manufacture their trains in Britain.
The bids for the HS2 fleet, which had to be submitted by 5 June, have come while the project itself is under regular review, amid fears that costs could spiral beyond the official budget of £55 billion.
The government has insisted that HS2 is still going ahead but some Tory candidates to become Prime Minister, including Boris Johnson, are known to be opposed to the scheme.