Hitachi, Alstom win contract for Britain’s HS2 rail project

Courtesy of Hitachi Ltd.
An artist’s rendering of the high-speed trains unveiled by Hitachi

LONDON — A joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. and Alstom SA of France has won a £1.97 billion (about ¥300 billion) contract to supply next-generation high-speed trains for Britain’s High Speed Two (HS2) railway line project.

The companies announced on Dec. 9 that the venture will design, build and maintain 54 trains for the HS2 project, which will initially link London and England’s Midlands region.

They will “deliver Europe’s fastest operational train, capable of operating at maximum speeds of 360 kilometers per hour,” according to the Alstom website.

The high-speed railway will link London to Birmingham in Phase 1 of the project, and then to Manchester in Phase 2. Phase 1 is expected to be completed between 2029 and 2033.

According to Hitachi, the newly designed trains will be able to run on conventional lines all the way to northern Scotland.

Hitachi and Alstom received the order for Phase 1, which involves the manufacture of 54 eight-car, 200-meter-long high-speed trains. The contract also includes a 12-year maintenance deal.

In 2018, Hitachi and Canada’s Bombardier Inc. announced the submission of a joint bid to build high-speed trains for the HS2 project, claiming that it would create jobs in Britain and strengthen the skills and parts-supply network.

After the bidding, Bombardier’s railroad business was acquired by Alstom.

The British government has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and is promoting the development of a rail network with high energy efficiency.

In expectation that new railroad lines and trains will be built and renewed globally, Hitachi built a new plant in Britain in 2015 to manufacture, maintain and inspect railcars.

The company is also putting a lot of effort into next-generation technologies, such as IT services for fleet management and ticket payment systems.