HITACHI is poised to win its second major Scottish train order with a £200 million contract for the Glasgow Subway, Scotland on Sunday has learned.
The Japanese firm’s recently acquired Italian subsidiary Ansaldo is part of a consortium being lined up to build a bespoke driverless fleet for the 120-year-old system.
With Swiss partners Stadler Rail and UK engineering giant Babcock, it is understood to be in final negotiations over the deal with Subway operator Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).
The contract would also include automated signalling as part of a wider £288m upgrade of the world’s third oldest underground railway after London and Budapest. The system’s biggest revamp for 35 years is to improve reliability and enable trains to run more frequently than every four minutes.
It follows Hitachi winning a £370m order for 70 new electric trains for ScotRail operator Abellio which are due to go into service next year.
Ansaldo has built driverless trains for the Copenhagen metro. However, the Glasgow stock will have to be specially built because the six-mile circular system’s gauge – the distance between the rails – is 20cm narrower than standard.
The carriages will be equipped with wifi and are expected to be introduced by 2020. Passengers may be able to see along the tunnel at both ends of trains because they will not need drivers’ cabs.
The consortium had competed for the Subway work against a group including Spanish train maker CAF, which built Edinburgh’s trams and which will supply the Caledonian Sleeper’s new fleet in 2018.
It had teamed up with France’s Thales, which helped construct the driverless SkyTrain network in Vancouver.
An SPT spokeswoman said: “SPT is in the final stages of a detailed and thorough tendering exercise in strict compliance with the European procurement regulations and the outcome will be reported to the partnership in March.
“The Subway modernisation continues to be delivered on time and within the available budget.”