HS2 rolling stock tendering
At RTM Magazine’s TransCityRail North event, HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby spoke about the high speed train procurement process.
[HS2 rolling stock tender to be open to all and ‘fiercely competitive’, RTM, 17 Nov 2015]
[…] Kirby said: “Whether the rolling stock comes from China, Sunderland, France, or wherever, we can’t specify it will be built in the UK. But our tender will be focused around heavily using the UK supply chain and UK jobs.”
Kirby added HS2 will be looking for “innovative ideas” from the market when the fleet starts to be procured in just over a year’s time.
Richard Westcott, the BBC’s transport correspondent and host for the evening, asked whether Kirby worried about how it will play in the media, when contracts are given to foreign companies. “All the time,” was the reply.
But, Kirby asked rhetorically, what exactly is a British company? “For me, it is about creating British jobs and getting value in this country,” he said. “I mean, Hitachi is just building a new factory in Sunderland [sic – the factory is in Newton Aycliffe], and Bombardier in Derby is certainly not a ‘British company’, but there are a lot of British jobs there producing great products.
Presumably, if a company is registered in Great Britain, and supplies the British market, then it counts as a “British company”, even if there is no GB content in what it sells.
So if an overseas company used its UK registered subsidiary and billing address for a HS2 contract, that would in all likelihood be recorded as a contract to a British company. (For example, so far as can be established, products imported from Lucchini Italy and sold by Lucchini UK are recorded as being from a ‘British company’.)
Bombardier rolling stock ‘manufactured’ at its Derby plant is less than 30% British by value. So far as can be established, there is zero GB capability to produce items such as bogies, large aluminium extrusions for carbodies, etc. It seems inevitable that the GB content of HS2 rolling stock orders would be either low, or very low.