THE board of directors of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has approved the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to supply and maintain for 30 years a fleet of six 350km/h high-speed trains from the two shortlisted bidders for the contract, Alstom and Siemens Mobility.

Proposals are due in the autumn and CHSRA says it hopes to award the contract by the end of the year. The suppliers were prequalified and shortlisted for the contract following a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) exercise that took place in 2023.

Two of the six trains will be supplied in 2028 and used as prototypes for static and dynamic testing as well as trial operation. The other four trains will be delivered by the end of 2030 to operate on the initial 275km Merced - Bakersfield section of the high-speed line.

Work is progressing at 25 construction sites in California’s Central Valley region and CHSRA says work is underway to extend construction from an initial 191km section to the project’s full 275km first phase. The objective is for the line to eventually run for 679km from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Environmental clearance has already been secured for the entire alignment.

Part of the funding for the new fleet procurement is from a $US 3.1bn grant received by CHRSA from the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (Fed-State National) Programme in December 2023.

“Today’s board action continues our urgent march to put federal dollars to work, creating new industries and economic opportunity around high-speed rail,” says CHSRA board chair, Mr Tom Richards. “By the end of this year, we will know who will build California’s first high-speed trains, setting the course for better, more accessible rail travel in California.”

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