The UK Government has launched a competition seeking a company to design, build and maintain a fleet of high-speed trains for the new HS2 network.

The £2.75bn contract is planned to be awarded in 2019 and the winning bidder will deliver a new fleet of up to 60 trains, which will provide services capable of seating more than 1,000 passengers.

UK Transport Secretary Chris 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, improve connections between our great cities, generate jobs, and helping us build an economy that works for all.

“In total, 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships will be created during HS2 construction and we have held discussions with UK suppliers to make sure they are in the best possible position to win contracts.”

Building work is expected to start on the Birmingham to London section of HS2 this year.

HS2 railway operations managing director 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.

"Launching the hunt for a manufacturer is a major step towards Britain getting a new railway, which will carry more than 300,000 people a day."

“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.”

The new trains will be required to transport passengers at around 225mph on the UK’s new high-speed rail service and should meet HS2’s design and performance needs.

The winning bidder will also maintain the fleet from the rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham.

Future contracts are set to add to this fleet to provide trains for the second phase of the project in 2033.

Image: HS2 rolling stock has not yet been finalised, but the DfT used a French AGV as an example of high-speed rail technology in a 2010 report. Photo: courtey of Wiki05.