Five of the world’s leading rail companies are battling it out to provide new Merseyrail trains.
The shortlist of bidders looking to supply the new trains – which will be used by commuters across the Chester area as well as on Merseyside – has been narrowed down to five, including multinational companies from Germany and Japan.
They are competing for the right to provide replacements for the current fleet of Merseyrail trains, which are nearly 40 years old.
The Spanish company behind the Heathrow Express and the Swiss manufacturer who has provided trams for the Croydon Tramlink in London are two of the companies hoping to bring their expertise to Liverpool.
Cllr Liam Robinson, the chair of Merseytravel, said: “We are extremely pleased that our project has attracted the leading names in the industry.
“All of our five candidates have extensive experience of providing trains, maintenance services and depots. They all have a strong international pedigree as well as a good track record here in the UK.
“This announcement marks an important next step in the project – keeping up the momentum and moving another step forward towards new trains on the Merseyrail network.”
With the bids due back in April, we take a look at each company’s track record:
Derby-based Bombardier describe themselves as the “world’s leading manufacturer of both planes and trains” and are currently in the process of supplying the 65 new trains for Crossrail in the south east.
Landing that £1 billion Crossrail contract was seen as a much-needed boost for train-making in the UK.
Spanish company CAF are behind the Heathrow Express - the fastest way from London to the Heathrow airport.
These high-tech trains are one of the few in the UK to have automatic train protection (ATP), which can automatically apply the brakes if the driver has not seen a signal or speed restriction.
The Mitsui Group is one of the largest companies in the world, and are working with Japanese train builder J-Trec and France’s Alstom.
Alstom recently secured a contract worth more than £50m to provide 15 trains in France which can travel at 100km/h. Mitsui supplied trains for Ireland’s inter-city routes.
With more than 340,000 employees, German-based Siemens is one of Europe’s largest engineering companies and were behind Bangkok’s Skytrain.
They have also designed a new Class 700 Desiro City for London’s Thameslink line and are the manufacturers of the Eurostar e320.
Swiss company Stadler have provided trains, buses and trams for cities across Europe, including Helskini, Berlin, Basel and London, where their Variobahn trams were ordered for Croydon in 2011.