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3 minute read

Hitachi Rail and Alstom secure HS2 train order

The Hitachi-Alstom High Speed (HAH-S) joint venture has signed a £1.97bn contract with HS2 to design, build, and maintain the next generation of very high speed trains for HS2 Phase 1. The deal also includes an initial 12-year train maintenance contract.

Hitachi Rail and Alstom will deliver Europe’s fastest operational train, capable of operating at maximum speeds of 225mph, significantly reducing journey times for passengers. The fleet will be 100% electric, and be one of the world’s most energy efficient very high speed trains due to the lower train mass per passenger, aerodynamic design, regenerative power and latest energy efficient traction technology.

The HAH-S joint venture will manufacture the 54 trains at newly enhanced facilities in Newton Aycliffe, Derby and Crewe, supported by extensive supply chains. The award to the British-based firms is expected to add £157m GVA to the UK economy for every year of the train building phase. The new 200m-long, 8-car trains are set to run in Phase 1 of the project between London and Birmingham, and on the existing network.

Hitachi Rail and Alstom have secured an order to manufacture and maintain a fleet of high speed trains for HS2 / Picture: Hitachi Rail

The HS2 rolling stock contract is expected to create and sustain over 2,500 jobs. 505 people will be directly employed by the two companies in the Midlands and the North in the design and manufacturing phase, including 49 apprentices and graduates working on the programme. The extensive use of UK supply chain means that a further 2,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created elsewhere in the UK economy.

Andrew Barr, group CEO of Hitachi Rail, said: “We are excited to be pioneering the next generation of high speed rail in the UK as part of our joint venture with Alstom. This British-built bullet train will be the fastest in Europe, and I am proud of the role that Hitachi will play in helping to improve mobility in the UK through this project.”

Alstom’s managing director for UK & Ireland, Nick Crossfield, added: “HS2 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Britain by building a sustainable transport system fit for the 21st century. I am delighted that Alstom’s joint venture with Hitachi Rail has been selected to develop, build and maintain in Britain the next generation of high speed trains.”

As part of the order, Hitachi and Alstom are making new multi-million-pound investments in advanced welding and bogie manufacturing, which will see a major upskilling of the workforce and an expansion in the sophistication of the UK’s train building capability. Analysis undertaken by Oxford Economics found that HAH-S will deliver £1.1 billion GVA to the UK economy during the manufacturing phase alone.

Hitachi Rail recently invested £8.5m in bespoke welding and painting facilities at its Newton Aycliffe factory, taking its total investment up to £110m. The site opened in 2015 and employs around 700 staff. The new welding facility will carry out vehicle body assembly and fit out, before each one is transported to the East Midlands.

Once in Alstom’s factory in Derby, the largest in the UK with 2,000 staff, the trains will be fitted with all remaining components including interiors, electrics, and bogies. The bogies will be made by Alstom at its Crewe facility, the first time in 17 years that these high value items have been manufactured in the UK, as part of a new investment by the firm. The welding facility in the North East and bogie production in Crewe represent important upskilling and lasting legacies for the UK.

Hitachi and Alstom are making new multi-million-pound investments in advanced welding and bogie manufacturing / Picture: Hitachi Rail

In addition, the train maintenance phase will create over 100 new jobs at Washwood Heath in Birmingham, The contract will provide a launch pad for new investment in education and learning, adding to the existing partnerships with local schools and the 200 apprentices and graduates already employed by the two joint venture companies. The two companies have committed to £5m in research and development spending with UK universities.

A dedicated maintenance team will be recruited to deliver a world class service from the new Washwood Heath facility being constructed by HS2 in Birmingham. Alstom’s service centre in Crewe will also become a strategic base for heavy maintenance activity on a significant proportion of the train’s key components and systems. These long-term maintenance operations will deliver opportunities for both regions in terms of job creation and business development for the wider supply chain, including small and medium enterprises. HAH-S will now work with HS2 and with HS2 operator West Coast Partnership to refine the final design of the train, before manufacturing begins in 2025.

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