U.K. Puts Alstom, Siemens on $3.6 Billion HS2 Train Shortlist

(Bloomberg) -- Alstom SA and Siemens AG, the French and German manufacturers planning to combine their trainmaking businesses, are among five bidders shortlisted for a 2.75 billion-pound ($3.6 billion) contract to supply models for the U.K.’s planned high-speed railway.

Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier Inc., Hitachi Ltd. and Patentes Talgo SA will vie for the opportunity to build and maintain trains capable of traveling at 225 miles (360 kilometers) per hour on a new line connecting London’s Euston station with Leeds and Manchester, England, via Birmingham. First deliveries are expected in 2026, government-run project developer HS2 Ltd. said Thursday in a statement.

The high-speed rail route has become the subject of political battles as its final cost is seen totaling more than 50 billion pounds. The shortlisted companies will be invited to offer proposals in spring 2018, with the contract slated to be awarded by late 2019, HS2 said. Construction of the line is seen by the government as creating up to 25,000 jobs.

“It is crucial that the benefits of HS2 resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. “I want to pave the way for a new generation of highly-skilled British workers, boosting skills, generating employment and strengthening the manufacturing supply chain.”

Alstom and Munich-based Siemens agreed in September to combine their rail businesses to create a European transportation giant aimed at countering competition from China. Alstom, which has its headquarters in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, developed France’s 186-mph TGV trains, while Siemens makes Germany’s high-speed ICE models.

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