Leading technology companies, including designers of the Japanese bullet train, are in the running to bid for the Intercity Express Programme the UK Department of Transport announced today.
Intercity Express is part of the Railway Strategy published by the government last month to modernise and upgrade the UK’s rail network.
Hitachi, who manufactured the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan have been short-listed together with Alstom-Barclays Rail Group and a consortium made up of Bombardier Transportation, Siemens, Angel Trains and Babcock & Brown.
The Intercity Express Programme aims to create trains that are lighter, longer and more environmentally friendly than existing fleets.
The invitation to tender will be issued to the short-listed bidders in autumn this year.
Proposals will then be received from bidders in summer 2008, with the award of the contract in winter 2008-09.
Earlier this week UK-based transportation company National Express won the InterCity East Coast franchise, where the first batch of trains will be introduced on the East Coast Main Line from 2012.