Very high-speed trains to be built in UK

The Hitachi-Alstom High Speed joint venture has signed contracts worth £1.97bn with HS2 to design and build the next generation of very high-speed trains for HS2 Phase 1.

(Image: Hitachi-Alstom High Speed)

The deal, which is expected to create and sustain over 2,500 jobs and add £157m GVA to the UK economy for every year of the train building phase, includes an initial 12-year train maintenance contract for the 54 all-electric trains.

In a statement 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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The new 200m-long, 8-car trains will run in Phase 1 of the project between London and Birmingham and on the existing network. According to Hitachi-Alstom High Speed (HAH-S), the trains will be able to run at a maximum speed of 225mph and be one of the world’s most energy efficient very high-speed trains due to lower train mass per passenger, aerodynamic design, regenerative power and efficient traction technology’.

Initial assembly will take place at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe, County Durham factory, where the company recently invested £8.5m in bespoke welding and painting facilities. The welding facility will carry out vehicle body assembly and fit out, before each one is transported to the East Midlands. Once in Alstom’s Derby factory, the trains will be fitted with all remaining components including interiors, electrics and bogies.

Commenting on the deal, a spokesperson for the High-Speed Rail Group said: This is a huge step forward for Britain’s most important infrastructure project. Because to get to net zero, we need to get more people travelling by train, and outstanding rolling stock has a hugely important part to play in that.

“The construction of the first phase of HS2 is now 20 per cent complete and some 20,000 people are already working on the scheme. The industry and HS2 Ltd are making great progress in delivering this project, which will transform Britain.”