Just a month after Transport for London (TfL) awarded Siemens with the £1.5 billion contract to supply trains for its network’s Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, the consortium comprising Bombardier and Hitachi that was unsuccessful has launched a legal bid challenging the decision.
The papers that begin the process of reviewing the decision were filed at the High Court over the weekend by the Canada-Japan consortium and it has been suggested that the reason for the action is down to a procurement process that it felt wasn’t sufficiently robust.
As reported in The Times, a spokesperson from the Bombardier-Hitachi consortium confirmed that it had begun the process against “London Underground Ltd’s decision not to select our consortium bid for the deep Tube upgrade programme”, but it released no more details at this stage. TfL said that it was “disappointed” with the decision to challenge the deal.
The Inspiro trains that won Siemens the TfL deal were planned for introduction in 2023, when the walkthrough-style trains would replace the fleet built in 1975, which have already surpassed their 40-year design life. That rolling stock would form part of TfL’s Deep Tube Upgrade Programme that includes the overhaul of signalling on the line that will enables more trains to operate across the network. The £1.5 billion deal also included a reported contract extension that would see 150 more trains introduced to London Underground’s Central and Bakerloo lines.
“We have been notified that they have issued claim forms in the High Court,” said a TfL spokesperson, who added that it would respond to the request following a review process. “We see no good basis for these claims to be issued and are disappointed that these companies have chosen to take this step.” At the time of the original contract begin awarded to Siemens, TfL commissioner, Mike Brown, said the deal was a huge milestone for the capital, demonstrating that investment in London “creates jobs and apprenticeship opportunities right across the country”.
The Deep Tube Upgrade Programme contract will have been seen by all three train building companies as an ideal opportunity to prove their suitability for winning the coveted HS2 train building contract. Bombardier and Hitachi will use the same consortium to pitch to win the HS2 contract, a collaboration it said would “bring together a deep understanding of very high speed rail”. The proposed HS2 line is scheduled to begin construction of the line in early 2019, with the delivery of the first trains for testing due in 2024.
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