Virgin Rail, which this week received bids to build tilting trains for its West Coast Main Line franchise in a contract worth up to £500m, is not expected to announce the preferred bidder until early next year.
The contract will create hundreds of jobs with the winning contractor and its suppliers.
A spokesman for Virgin Rail said no timetable had been fixed for analysing the bids. A preferred bidder is expected to be announced before spring, with the trains due to go into service by 2002.
Bids were delivered to Virgin Rail on Monday.
Adtranz UK, which would build the trains at Derby, said it had drawn on the experience of its engineers, many of whom worked on the original tilting Advanced Passenger Train.
GEC-Alsthom and Fiat Ferroviaria submitted a joint tender – for 60 seven-car tilting trains – and said its units would be assembled at GEC-Alsthom’s factory at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.
Peter Murray, managing director of GEC-Alsthom, said it was ‘the single most important tender for many decades’.
Siemens is also believed to have put in a bid.