Rolling Stock Manufacturer [Confidential]

HS2 Rolling Stock Bid Support

High Speed 2 (HS2) is one of the largest, most ambitious and most challenging transport projects that the UK has undertaken in recent history, with the aim of providing a new rail service linking major cities in record journey times and increasing capacity on critical routes. One of the key components of the system is the new high speed rolling stock. HS2 Ltd invited 5 prequalified bidders to submit tenders to provide 54 trains to enable HS2, and later the West Coast Partnership (WCP) franchisee, to operate the service from 2026. Trains will be procured through a Manufacture and Supply Agreement (MSA), and it is intended that the winning bidder will be responsible for maintenance under a 12-year Train Services Agreement (TSA), which includes an optional extension for up to 35 years. One of the manufacturers enlisted IPEX to provide support to their bid; providing expertise in bidding, a deep knowledge of the UK railway, technical review and advice, and comprehensive shaping of bid content.


The HS2 specification resulted in an extremely demanding set of tender requirements unlike any seen previously in UK rail, and unlike our client had responded to in previous rolling stock bids around the world. The requirements not only scrutinised the proposed design, manufacturing and maintenance of the product, but also tested the benefits which could be brought to the UK through employment, education, supply chain, culture, and sustainability, amongst others. Due to this, it quickly became clear to our client that while they were well versed in rolling stock bids, these new requirements required input from departments that had previously had little involvement and would need assistance in shaping and communicating their offering, further exacerbated by the fact that our client has a diverse, global bid team and would need to overcome language challenges. Factoring in that our client was in competition with 4 strong bidders with a great deal of experience, our client recognised that they needed highly experienced and professional bidding expertise to assist in the production of a highly competitive tender.


IPEX mobilised an expert team, with a wealth of experience and knowledge of both rolling stock bids and UK rail, to immerse itself in the client’s organisation with the aim of gaining a full understanding of our client’s product, practices, strengths, and areas for improvement. Based on this the team developed a comprehensive bid plan in collaboration with the client and set out the vision for the bid. The IPEX team possessed a wide range of specialisms including rolling stock engineering, manufacturing, approvals, maintenance, and human resources. Using these specialisms, the team reviewed and assisted the production of the numerous required tender documents, providing high quality support, challenge and advice, and often integrating to the client’s office and working directly with our client’s employees for the most effective collaboration. IPEX provided expert management of the integrated bid team using bespoke tools for document control, workload and resource forecasting, and progress tracking and reporting. IPEX provided weekly updates on progress for each deliverable and highlighted the key successes, opportunities, failures and threats to keep our client informed and enable an action plan to be developed. The IPEX team was always attentive and flexible towards our client’s emerging needs, accommodating additional work requests which would ultimately increase and strengthen our client’s knowledge and position. Furthermore, the bid submission date was delayed on several occasions, which IPEX absorbed and reacted to accordingly with appropriate refining of the bid plan, workload and resource forecast. This diligent and valuable work culminated in enabling our client to submit a high quality, timely and competitive tender.


IPEX provided real value to the client in skilfully shaping and managing the bid, and bolstering the integrated bid team with immeasurable expertise to assist the production of an excellent tender. The IPEX team was able to deftly extract and truly sing the benefits of the offer throughout all aspects of the tender, clearly highlighting precisely why our client should be the preferred rolling stock manufacturer. The team also successfully guided the initially inexperienced areas of the organisation to produce deliverables with powerful content. A key focus was continued sharing of our expertise and methodology to support the ongoing development of our client’s capability for future bids. IPEX thoroughly enjoyed providing bid support to the client and it is believed that the input from the team was vital in creating a compelling bid which will give our client a strong chance of seeing their trains on the HS2 network.