Adtranz has put Virginstyle extras into its bid for the £250m Virgin CrossCountry diesel train contract, including hundreds of suggestions from engineering staff for customer-friendly improvements, and a marketing slogan invented by one of its engineers.
The company will face stiff opposition from GEC-Alsthom in Birmingham and four overseas bidders.
Virgin Rail said that while UK manufacturing capability would be an advantage to whoever wins the design, build and maintain contract, it would not swing the decision.
‘It is still wide open,’ said Will Whitehorn, Virgin Rail director.
Other bidders for the first £250m diesel train order for the CrossCountry Plymouth-to-Edinburgh route are understood to include Siemens of Germany and Bombardier of Canada, both of which already have British facilities. Fiat of Italy and the Spanish manufacturer CAF are also in the running.
Separate bids are being invited for the second part of the contract – worth a further £500m – which is for tilting trains running on the West Coast Main Line. The deadline for these bids is 3 November.
Derby-based Adtranz has included all its suggestions from staff – such as designing special rail coaches for children – as an appendix to its tender.
‘This is a really innovative bid. We tried to get inside the Virgin way of thinking,’ said a spokeswoman.
The bid also includes a slogan devised by Les Plunkett, Adtranz technical documentation specialist: ‘Adtranz and Virgin: high flyers at ground level’.