TENDERING has started for the first rolling stock for California’s under-construction high-speed network, after the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) approved on August 24 the release of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to supply six trains capable of operating at up to 350km/h.

This is the first part of a two-stage procurement process. CHSRA expects to receive Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) from prospective bidders this November. The SOQs will then be evaluated to produce a shortlist of bidders, that will each then receive a Request for Proposal in the first quarter of 2024.

The winner of the eventual fleet contract will supply two prototype trains in 2028 to support static and dynamic testing as well as trial operations.

CHSRA then expects to receive an additional four trains by the end of 2030 for revenue operations on the Merced - Bakersfield section of the California high-speed network.

As well as the design, manufacture, testing and commissioning of the new trains, the contract is expected to include maintenance over 30 years and the provision of all spare parts.

The winning bidder will operate and maintain three facilities for heavy rolling stock maintenance, light maintenance and train certification, which CHSRA says will be built by other parties.

The fleet contract will also include the supply, testing, commissioning, maintenance and updating of a driver training simulator, and the development and provision of design criteria to inform interfaces with facilities, track and systems.

The rolling stock supplier will participate in the testing and commissioning of facilities, track, systems and stations, and will develop and provide information as required to support the certification and subsequent commissioning of the new trains.

CHSRA says that 190.4km of the 273.6km Merced - Bakersfield high-speed line is currently under construction, with over 30 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley.

In addition, the authority has received environmental clearance for its entire planned 675.2km network from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

“Our action today allows us to deliver on our commitment to meet our federal grant timelines to start testing,” says CHSRA board chair, Mr Tom Richards.

“This is an important milestone for us to deliver high-speed rail service in the Central Valley and eventually into northern and southern California.”

“We are procuring the latest generation of high-speed trains for this first-in-the-nation project,” says CHSRA CEO, Mr Brian Kelly.

“We look forward to working with members of the industry as we strive to develop a market for high-speed trains in the United States.”For detailed data on rolling stock orders around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.