The Department of Transport is searching for a company to take on the £2.75bn contract to build high speed trains for the HS2 network.
To be awarded in 2019, the government said it needs up to 60 trains, capable of speeds of up to 225mph, for the first phase of the project.
This will run between London and Birmingham, and will open in 2026. It is expected to cut journey times by 32 minutes and construction will begin later this year.
The second phase of the development, from Birmingham to Crewe will open in 2027, and a further leg to Manchester Airport is scheduled for completion in 2033.
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.
“Hundreds of jobs will be created in building and maintaining these trains, representing a great opportunity for British based businesses and suppliers.
“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.”
Providing a world class passenger experience is at the heart of the requirements for companies interested in bidding for the contract.
Chris Rayner, HS2 Ltd managing director – railway operations, 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.”
With Royal Assent for the Phase One hybrid Bill expected shortly and building work due to start on the Birmingham to London section of HS2 in the spring, 2017 will see HS2 – Europe’s largest infrastructure project – move from planning to construction.
The contract 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.
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.
The successful bidder will also maintain the fleet from the dedicated rolling stock depot planned for Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
The site will also be home to the HS2 Network Control Centre which will together create hundreds of skilled jobs.
Future contracts will add to this fleet, to provide trains for the second phase of the project, in 2033.