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The UK government has awarded a £2 billion contract to build
the trains that will be used on the High Speed 2 (HS2) line to a joint venture
between Hitachi and Alstom.

The contract will see the manufacturers build fully electric
trains capable of reaching speeds of up to 225mph at their factories in Derby,
Crewe and County Durham in the UK. The government said the deal will create
2,500 jobs for the country.

According to the government announcement, the rolling stock
will be “the fastest and lowest carbon per passenger kilometre trains of their
kind in the UK”.

The trains will be fully accessible for passengers with
mobility needs, with the interior design to be decided following a two-and-a-half-year
process involving HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and the West Coast
Partner, which will operate the trains when they first come into service.

Each train will be approximately 200m long, with the option
to couple two together to create a train with up to 1,100 seats,
according to the government.

In addition to being used on the HS2 route, the trains will
also serve destinations on the existing network, such as Glasgow, Liverpool,
Manchester and Birmingham, according to the Department for Transport.

The first train is expected to roll off the production line
around 2027, with the first passengers expected to be using HS2 between 2029
and 2033.

The news comes after transport secretary Grant Shapps laid
out the government’s new Integrated Rail Plan, which sees the Leeds leg of HS2
scrapped
in favour of upgrading existing railways.

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