Japan’s Hitachi will bid against French firm Alstom for a high-speed train contract from French state rail operator SNCF.

Bullet train manufacturer Hitachi will offer its latest Shinkansen-series model to the operator to replace the existing Alstom-built high-speed TGVs.

The move is part of Hitachi’s plans to expand in the European market as its high-speed train sales have until now been limited to the UK.

SNCF is expected to invite bids for the high-speed contract next year.

The company’s chances to win the contract may be supported by SNCF’s concerns about the cost of new rolling stock, a company official said.