California High-Speed Rail Authority Moves Closer to Buying First Trainsets

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors on Aug. 24 took a major step toward bringing high-speed rail service to California by approving the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to industry for the nation’s first 220 mph electrified high-speed trainsets.

The action is the first part of a two-step procurement process. The Authority anticipates getting Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from prospective trainset manufacturers in November 2023.​ Once received, the Authority will evaluate the SOQs and create a shortlist of qualified teams capable of delivering high-speed trainsets​ and release a Request for Proposal in the first quarter of 2024 to qualified teams.

“Our action today allows us to deliver on our commitment to meet our federal grant timelines to start testing,” said Board Chair 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.”

This trainset procurement process will allow the Authority to:

  • Procure six trainsets capable of operating at 220 mph and tested up to 242 mph;
  • Receive two prototypes in 2028 to support static/dynamic testing and trial running;
  • Receive an additional four trainsets by the end of 2030 to support revenue operations on the 171-mile Merced to Bakersfield section.

“These trainsets ensure that we are procuring the latest generation of high-speed trains for this first-in-the-nation project,” said Authority CEO 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.”

The scope of work for the contract is anticipated to include:

  • The design, manufacturing, storage (before conditional acceptance), integration, testing and commissioning of the trainsets;
  • Maintenance of each trainset for 30 years and provision of all spares (i.e., interchangeable parts of a trainset) for such trainsets;
  • The provision, testing, commissioning, maintenance and update of the driving simulator; development and provision of design criteria to inform interfaces with the facilities, track, and systems;
  • Participating in the testing and commissioning of the facilities, track, systems and stations; the development and provision of information as required to support the certification and subsequent commissioning of the trainsets; and
  • The operation and maintenance of the Heavy Maintenance Facility, Light Maintenance Facility and Trainset Certification Facility (to be built by others).

Since the start of construction, the Authority has created more than 11,000 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are more than 30 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

For more information on construction, click here.

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