UK manufacturing has been given a major boost after HS2 Ltd confirmed that a Hitachi and Alstom joint venture has been awarded the deal to build Britain’s next generation of high speed trains.
The landmark contracts – worth about £2bn – will see the two Hitachi launch construction in Newton Aycliffe, alongside Alstom’s operations in Derby, with the deal set to support 2,500 jobs across the UK.
The deal will see the JV design, build and maintain a fleet of 54 state-of-the-art high speed trains that will operate on HS2 – the new high-speed railway being built between London, the West Midlands and Crewe.
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Capable of speeds of up to 225mph (360km/h), the fully electric trains will also run on the existing network to places such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West.
The trains will build on the latest technology from the Japanese Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ and European high-speed network, with HS2 Ltd saying they will be some of the fastest, quietest and most energy efficient high-speed trains operating anywhere in the world.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s announcement places Britain firmly at the forefront of the high-speed rail revolution with these state-of-the-art trains serving communities right across the country from London to Glasgow.
“This is another landmark step in the delivery of HS2 which will open up new employment and leisure opportunities for millions of people, levelling up opportunity for generations to come.”
The first stages including vehicle body assembly and initial fit-out will be done at Hitachi Rail’s facility at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham; and
The second stage of fit out and testing will be done at Alstom’s Litchurch Lane factory in Derby.
All the bogies, which house the wheelsets, will both be assembled and maintained at Alstom’s Crewe facility – the first time since 2004 that both jobs have been done in the UK.
Hitachi Rail has recently completed a £8.5m investment in new welding and painting facilities at Newton Aycliffe where the 432 HS2 bodyshells will be manufactured.
The first train is expected to roll 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 in Derby, Newton Aycliffe and Crewe 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.”
Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail said: “We are excited to be pioneering the next generation of high speed rail in the UK as part of our joint venture with Alstom. This British-built bullet train will be the fastest in Europe, and I am proud of the role that Hitachi will play in helping to improve mobility in the UK through this project.”
Alstom’s Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Nick Crossfield said: “HS2 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Britain by building a sustainable transport system fit for the 21st Century. I am delighted that Alstom’s joint venture with Hitachi Rail has been selected to develop, build and maintain in Britain the next generation of high-speed trains.”
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