The government has announced the award of a £2 billion contract to build HS2 trains to Hitachi and Alstom. The fleet will be built at Derby, Crewe and County Durham. The Department for Transport says 2,500 jobs will be created.
The fleet will consist of 200m units able to work in multiple, forming trains 400m long with 1,100 seats, and their maximum speed will be 360km/h.
The DfT said: ‘For the first time, the trains will be entirely designed and assembled on home soil, supporting jobs in factories across the Midlands and North and in their supply chains, including apprentices and roles for young people – a great example of the Government’s Plan for Jobs in action. They will also be the fastest and lowest carbon per passenger km trains of their kind in the UK.’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Today’s announcement places Britain firmly at the forefront of the high-speed rail revolution with a billion pound investment in state-of-the-art trains serving communities right across the country from London to Glasgow.
‘Not only does this show we are getting on with delivering better and faster journeys through our plans to upgrade the rail network, this is another landmark step in the delivery of HS2, sustaining 2,500 jobs and levelling up employment and leisure opportunities for generations to come.’
The first train is expected to come off the production line around 2027. Following a ‘rigorous process of testing and commissioning’, the first passengers are expected to be carried between 2029 and 2033.
HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Mark Thurston said: ‘Today is a massive day for HS2. The trains that will be built at Derby and Newton Aycliffe will transform rail travel – offering passengers unparalleled levels of reliability, speed and comfort and help in the fight against climate change. I’d like to congratulate Alstom and Hitachi and I look forward to working with them as together we bring these exciting new trains to passengers across the UK.’
The interior layout of the vehicles will be decided following a two and a half year collaborative design process involving HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and the West Coast Partner who will be operating the trains when they first come into service.
It has also been confirmed the new trains will be built to the British loading gauge, so that they will able to operate ‘seamlessly between HS2 and the existing rail network’.
The fleet will be maintained at a new depot at Washwood Heath in Birmingham on a site where first-generation Pendolinos for the West Coast Main Line were built until 2004.