It's full steam ahead for HS2: the government's now after a company to sign a £2.75bn contract to make a fleet of high speed trains for the project.
Up to 60 high specification trains to transport passengers at around 225mph on the new rail service, will be needed. The government said hundreds of jobs will be created by the investment and the contract will be awarded in 2019.
Formal invitations to tender will be issued next year, with an industry event on 27 March 2017 where interested firms can find out more about the bidding requirements and process.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling, said: "Launching the hunt for a manufacturer of these trains is a major step towards Britain getting a new railway which will carry over 300,000 people a day, improve connections between our great cities, generate jobs and helping us build an economy that works for all."
Hundreds of jobs will be created in building and maintaining these trains, representing a great opportunity for British based businesses and suppliers.
In total 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships will be created during HS2 construction and we have held discussions with UK suppliers to make sure they are in the best possible position to win contracts.
Building work is due to start on the Birmingham to London section of HS2 in the spring and Royal Assent for the Phase One hybrid Bill is expected shortly.
The new trains will need to meet HS2's design and performance needs, as well as international standards on noise reduction and environmental sustainability.
Chris Rayner, HS2 managing director for railway operations, said: "We are looking for a supplier who is capable of delivering and maintaining some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, with designs putting the passenger at their heart to ensure seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys."
The winning bidder will also maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
Future contracts will bolster the fleet, to provide trains for the second phase of the project, in 2033.
The government has also released details of the new West Coast Partnership franchise. The operator that wins the franchise will be responsible for services on both the West Coast Main Line from 2019 and the initial HS2 services in 2026.