Exclusive: A Spanish train manufacturer has been added to the shortlist for HS2’s £2.75bn rolling stock contract after challenging the decision to exclude it in the High Court, Construction News can reveal.
Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles (CAF) was added to the rolling stock tender earlier this month, having initially missed out on a spot when shortlist details were first confirmed in November last year.
In High Court papers obtained by CN, CAF claimed that HS2 made errors during the procurement process that breached UK and EU regulations.
CAF’s claim is valued at more than £10m, with the firm having called for compensation to cover bid costs and damages.
It also demanded that the firm be reinstated in the tender race, or see the procurement re-run.
The manufacturer alleged that HS2 did not follow its own rules on procurement, and that it failed to keep appropriate records of the document-scoring decisions taken.
CAF claimed that HS2 had scored it and other bidders against criteria not given to bidders in their prequalification packs.
The Zaragoza-based company alleged that HS2 acknowledged in a review that the procurement was “infected by serious flaws” – including in its scoring system.
CAF claims that, despite this review, HS2 continued to proceed with the rolling stock procurement and exclude CAF.
The Spanish manufacturer argued that these alleged actions put it at risk of financial loss or reputation damage, and were sufficiently serious to require compensation.
It has not been established whether the High Court claim has resulted in a judgement.
Responding to CN’s questions on the addition of CAF to the rolling stock shortlist, HS2 said it had been added to maintain “robust” competition for the £2.75bn deal.
An HS2 spokesperson said: “In our procurement rules we stated that we wished to invite a minimum of three and a maximum of five bidders to tender.
“As the JV between Bombardier and Hitachi has reduced the number of tenderers down to four, we exercised our right to further consider the expression of interest submitted by CAF and add them to our shortlist, thus maintaining a competition between five potential rolling stock manufacturers.”
It declined to comment on the legal case.
Last year Mace called for the procurement of HS2’s £170m phase 2b development partner contract to be re-run after conflicts of interest were found between the client and initial winner CH2M.
The firm also considered taking its case to the High Court but eventually opted against the move.
CH2M withdrew from the contract amid the conflict-of-interest allegations, with second-placed bidder Bechtel taking over the deal.
CAF supplies trains across the globe and most recently won the rolling stock contract for a new West Midlands franchise covering the services around Birmingham.
The company also moved into the design engineering market last July when it bought £23m-turnover firm BWB Consulting.
CAF declined to comment and referred CN to HS2.