HS2 Train Visualisation

Hitachi/Alstom to build 52 high speed trains for HS2

Source: HS2

The HS2 project organization has announced that the Hitachi/Alstom JV consortium has been awarded the contract for the construction of 54 new high-speed trains. The contracts are worth approximately two billion British pounds (2.6 billion euros). HS2 (High Speed ​​​​2) is a new high-speed line that will connect London with the city centers of Birmingham and Manchester.

The new high-speed trains will be built at the Hitachi and Alstom JV plants in Derby and County Durham. According to HS2, this will create a total of 2,500 jobs in the UK.

Trains run up to 360 kilometers per hour

The fully electric trains can reach speeds of up to 360 kilometers per hour. The vehicles will also run on the existing network to places such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West.

The high-speed trains are according to HS2 “build on the latest technology of the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train and the European high-speed network”. And they will be “some of the fastest, quietest and most energy-efficient high-speed trains in the world”.

Watch a video of the design of the new high speed train here:

Construction of the high-speed trains

The first phase of the project involves the vehicle body assembly and initial fit-out that will be carried out at Hitachi Rail’s plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The second phase concerns the fit out and testing of the vehicles. This takes place at the Alstom Litchurch Lane factory in Derby. All bogies (which house the wheelsets) are assembled and maintained at Alstom’s factory in Crewe.

Hitachi Rail recently completed an £8.5 million investment in new welding and painting facilities at Newton Aycliffe, where the 432 HS2 bodies will be produced.

The first train is expected to roll off the factory belt around 2027. After an extensive test trajectory, the first passengers are expected to be carried between 2029 and 2033.

Interior of the train

The interior furnishing design will focus on full accessibility. The design will be adopted after a period of 2.5 years. HS2, the Department of Transport and the West Coast Partnership, the operator of the trains, are involved in the first commissioning.

Serving destinations such as Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham and London, the HS2 trains will run seamlessly between HS2 and the existing rail network, cutting many journey times in the UK in half. Each train will be approximately 200m long, with the option of linking two units together to create a 400m long train with up to 1,100 seats.

HS2 Train Visualisation

Low-noise pantograph

The train will be equipped with a low-noise pantograph of Hitachi Rail. This technology was developed in Japan and makes it quieter than comparable high-speed trains. The pantograph also uses regenerative braking to increase energy efficiency.

The manufacturers further promise that the high-speed train will be 15 percent lighter and offer 30 percent more seats than comparable high-speed trains in Europe, such as the Italian ETR1000 built by JV between Hitachi Rail and Alstom.

In addition to design, manufacturing and testing, the contracts include 12 years of maintenance. This could potentially be extended in the future to the estimated 35-year life of the trains. The fleet is serviced at a new maintenance depot being built by HS2 Ltd in Washwood Heath on the outskirts of Birmingham.

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor-in-chief of RailTech.com, RailFreight.com and SpoorPro.nl, online magazines for railway professionals.

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