A trial train takes a test run on the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway constructed by China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in Turkey on Jan. 4, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
A trial train takes a test run on the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway constructed by China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in Turkey on Jan. 4, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

The hunt started Friday for a company able to design, build and maintain a fleet of 362 km/h trains to run on Britain’s new high speed rail link between London and northern England.

The company winning the race will be handed a lucrative contract worth more than 3.4 billion U.S. dollars to build 60 fleets of trains for the High Speed 2 link.

Officials at the government’s Department for Transport (DfT) said the investment will create hundreds of jobs, boosting Britain’s skills and expertise.

The search was launched by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who said providing a world class passenger experience is at the heart of the requirements for companies interested in bidding for the multi-billion dollar contract.

Secretary Grayling said: “Launching the hunt for a manufacturer of these trains is a major step towards Britain getting a new railway which will carry over 300,000 people a day.

“Hundreds of jobs will be created in building and maintaining these trains, representing a great opportunity for British based businesses and suppliers.”

DfT said 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships will be created during the construction of HS2, Britain’s biggest ever rail infrastructure project.

The line will link London with Britain’s second biggest city, Birmingham, as well cities in the north of England, easing overcrowded south-north railways that date back to the 19th century.

The DfT said discussions have already been held with British suppliers to make sure they are in the best possible position to win contracts.

HS2 executive Chris Rayner said: “We are looking for a supplier who is capable of delivering and maintaining some of the world’s most advanced rolling stock, with designs putting the passenger at their heart to ensure seamless, accessible, fast and reliable journeys.

“Starting from 2026, our trains will be used by tens of thousands of people every day, bringing the benefits of high speed rail not only to the core network, but also onward to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.”

Queen Elizabeth is expected soon to grant Royal Assent to enable work to start in the spring on the building of the first phase of HS2. It will link London and Birmingham, kick-starting what will Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

The contract for the new trains will be awarded in 2019 with the winning bidders going on to deliver a brand new fleet of up to 60 trains which will provide services capable of seating more than 1,000 passengers.

The new trains will be required to meet HS2’s design and performance needs and the highest standards internationally for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability, while maximising skills, employment and growth opportunities.

An industry event is to be held on March 27 to enable companies interested in bidding for the contract to find out more about the process. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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