CHSRA is reviewing the applications to develop a shortlist of qualified bidders by the end of April. The CHSRA board will then meet on May 10 to approve the shortlist so that a request for proposals can be issued.

The five groups comprise:

• China HSR ETO Consortium consisting of China Railway International, Beijing Railway Administration, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group, and China Railway Corporation
• DB International US together with German Rail (DB), Alternate Concepts, and HDR
• FS First Rail Group comprising Italian State Railways (FS) and its subsidiaries Trenitalia, Italian Rail Network (RFI), CentoStazioni, and Italferr, plus FirstGroup, Britain, and McKinsey
• Renfe, Spain, and Spanish infrastructure manager Adif, and
• Stagecoach Group, Britain, and is its US subsidiary Coach USA Administration.

The early train operator will provide consultation on the procurement of trains, track, systems and stations as well as optimising the whole life, capital, operating, maintenance and whole life costs of these assets. The operator will also provide consultation on station design and operations, the size of the train fleet and interior layout, fares integration and inter-operability with connecting operators, security and safety, operations control systems and train dispatching, and opportunities to maximise revenue.

The winner of the tender will also help to calculate ridership and revenue forecasts, and operating and maintenance cost. It will help to select a revenue collection system, and develop a marketing and branding plan.

The early train operator will be paid on the completion of specified milestones with the possibility of performance-based incentives. However, CHSRA has capped total expenditure at $US 30m.

During the development phase, CHSRA intends to negotiate a franchise agreement with early train operator.

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