A joint venture of Alstom and Hitachi will build the first High Speed 2 fleet in a £2 billion deal announced on 9 December.
Fifty-four 200-metre-long, 225mph (360km/h) trains will be built by the companies, running on HS2 between London and Birmingham and on the conventional network to destinations such as Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow via HS2 Phases 1 and 2a initially.
The first trains are expected to be completed in around 2027 and following testing and commissioning enter revenue-earning service between 2029 and 2033. Maintenance will take place at a new depot being built at Washwood Heath, Birmingham under a 12-year contract.
Hitachi’s low noise pantograph will be specified for the trains, which are expected to be 15% lighter and offer 30% more seats than comparable trains in Europe such as the Italian ETR1000 fleet also build in a joint venture between Hitachi and Alstom.,
The work is being split with body assembly and initial fit-out taking place at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe facility and final fit-out and testing by Alstom at Litchurch Lane, Derby. The bogies will be assembled and maintained at Alstom’s Crewe site.
While the contract has long been expected, legal challenges (MR December 2021) have delayed the process.
While delivered as 200-metre-long trains, they will be coupled on some services to create 400-metre-long trains with up to 1,100 seats. It is estimated the programme will support 2,500 jobs and generate benefits of up to £157 million per year across the UK.