HS2 has signed a £2bn contract with manufacturers Hitachi and Alstom in a bid to produce the fastest trains ever seen in Britian.
The new fleet will feature 54 electric trains capable of travelling at speeds of 225mph (360kmph) which will eventually be used on a high speed railway between London, the West Midlands and Crewe. The trains will also run on existing rail lines between Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West with the deal expected to support 2,500 UK jobs.
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,” Shapps said.
It comes as Siemens reportedly dropped part of its suit against HS2 over the multi billion pound building contract. Siemens claimed that Hitachi failed to meet the government’s own criteria for manufacturing standards in a claim which the German manufacturer took to the UK’s high court.
The announcement that the contract has been awarded to Hitachi signals that Siemens will no longer pursue an injunction to prevent the award.
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 to remove carbon from our transport system,” he added, pointing out that manufacturing and design work will be based at Hitachi Rail and Alstom’s UK sites.
The HS2 project has also faced backlash over high spending and controversial redesigns which will see the Leeds to Manchester leg scrapped. The first high speed train is not expected to roll off the production line until 2027 and passengers may be unable to use them before 2033.