UK Opens Competition for New High-Speed Trains

"Britain's new railway will carry over 300,000 people a day, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on our existing rail lines, generate jobs, and help us build an economy that works for all. But what will make HS2's reputation from day one will be its trains," Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said.

The British government last week opened the competition for a $3.5 billion contract to design, build, and maintain the country's next generation of high-speed trains. The winning bidder will work with High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd to develop approximately 60 state-of-the-art trains to transport passengers on a new high-speed rail network and on the existing railway.

"Britain's new railway will carry over 300,000 people a day, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on our existing rail lines, generate jobs, and help us build an economy that works for all. But what will make HS2's reputation from day one will be its trains," Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said. “It is a given that we want the trains to be comfortable, reliable, and a pleasure to use, meeting the highest standards internationally for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability. But companies interested in bidding for the train contract need to push the boundaries. We want to see innovation, creativity, and ambition. The construction of these trains will also leave a legacy for this country, boosting skills, generating employment, and strengthening the manufacturing supply chain."

HS2 Ltd Managing Director of Rail Operations Chris Rayner said it "represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rebalance the national economy. It will transform travel in this country, connecting eight of the 10 largest cities in the UK when completed, as well as improving capacity for customers and productivity for the economy. The priorities and needs of our future passengers are at the center of our thinking. Quite simply, we want every aspect of traveling by HS2 to exceed expectations, from the passenger experience in selecting their journey and getting information to traveling through our stations, to the train ride itself. We challenge bidders to achieve this ambition."

According to the government, a total of 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships will be created during HS2 construction. The contract to provide the initial fleet of trains will be awarded as a single package. Contract award is expected in late 2019, and future contracts will provide trains for the second phase of the project in 2033.

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