June 5, 2019 @ 11:04 by Steven Hugill
A North East train builder is bidding for a £2.75 billion contract to make rolling stock for the UK’s new high-speed rail link.
Hitachi Rail is partnering with industry counterpart Bombardier on a submission to supply and maintain at least 54 trains for phase one of HS2.
Hitachi, which runs a manufacturing plant at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, says its proposal would “bring significant benefits for economies and communities, while truly transforming connectivity and passengers’ experience.”
HS2 bosses say the development will help bridge the North-South divide by freeing up space on congested rail lines and improving connectivity between London, the Midlands and the North. Trains accessing the North East will use HS2 before switching to the existing East Coast Main Line near York to access Newcastle.
Hitachi says its bid to make stock for the high-speed development is founded upon strong legacies, with the company known for its Japanese Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ and Bombardier recognised for its international experience from high-speed trains in Europe and China.
Officials added they can also tap into a successful joint venture in 2015, when the two companies delivered the 225mph Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) ETR1000 for Italian operator Trenitalia.
Karen Boswell OBE, Hitachi Rail’s managing director, said: “Our Great British train for HS2 would be a shining example of British ingenuity.
“Our bid, if successful, would bring significant benefits for economies and communities, while truly transforming connectivity and passengers’ experience.”
Phil Hufton, Bombardier president UK, added: “HS2 is this generation’s chance to transform our country.
“Our Great British train will connect our great cities and improve the journeys of every passenger.
“HS2’s vision is to be a catalyst for growth across Britain – we are ready to make that happen.”
Hitachi’s £82 million Newton Aycliffe factory, which provides work for at least 1,000 staff, previously secured contracts to make new rolling stock for the East Coast and Great Western routes under the Government’s InterCity Express Programme.
Its first East Coast train entered service last month.
The County Durham plant has also been responsible for making Scottish rolling stock, known as Class 385s, for lines between Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as routes covering Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane.