The shortlisted bidders have been named as: Alstom Transport; Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd; Hitachi Rail Europe; Patentes Talgo S.L.U; and Siemens PLC.

They will all be invited to tender for the contracts, which will cover the design, build and maintenance of at least 54 trains coming into service from 2026.

Says HS2 minister Paul Maynard (pictured): “Thousands of skilled British jobs and apprenticeships will be created by HS2, which gets a step closer as we reveal the companies shortlisted to build the high speed trains.

“HS2 will see some of the world’s fastest trains connecting our great cities across the north and Midlands, creating an economy that works for everyone. But announcements like this show how the benefits of HS2 will resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway. HS2’s legacy of jobs and skills is already being created.”

In total, HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships both directly in construction and also across the UK-wide supply chain. The first trains will begin to roll off the production line in the early 2020s..

Adds HS2 Ltd managing director of railways operations Chris Rayner: “It’s great to see such a strong line up of experienced high-tech manufacturing and design talent. Together with the successful bidder, HS2 will deliver some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, engineered to provide seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys.

“Starting from 2026, our trains will be used by tens of thousands of people every day, transforming links across the Midlands and the North and providing much-needed extra capacity between Britain’s major cities.”

Providing a world class passenger experience is at the heart of the requirements for the £2.75 billion contract. The new trains will also serve destinations beyond the core HS2 network, including York, Newcastle, Liverpool, the North West, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

All five bidders will be invited to tender in spring 2018, with contracts awarded in 2019.

The successful bidder will also maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham. The area will also be home to the HS2 Network Control Centre.

IMAGE CREDIT: The Department for Transport/Flickr (http://bit.ly/2zzD4lo)