Five companies shortlisted to build 225mph trains for HS2 will be revealed on Thursday. HS2 Ltd will name the firms bidding to win the £2.75 billion contract.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he was determined the deal would "create huge opportunities for British workers".

He went on:

Bidders need to push the boundaries and I want to see innovation and ambition in their plans to build the fastest trains in Britain - which I want to pave the way for a new generation of highly skilled British workers, boosting skills, generating employment and strengthening the manufacturing supply chain.

Chris Grayling

Mr Grayling added it was "crucial that the benefits of HS2 resonate far beyond the opening of the new railway". The contract is expected to be awarded in late 2019.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling Credit: Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

Phase 1 of the £55.7 billion high-speed railway will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026, with a second Y-shaped phase launching in two stages.

Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will begin in 2027, followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds, in 2033.

Existing orders mean thousands of new train carriages are already due to roll off UK production lines over coming years.

Hitachi's manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is building more than 100 Intercity Express trains for the Great Western and East Coast lines over the next three years.

Earlier this year Derby's Bombardier secured a multi-million pound investment to build 90 new trains for South Western Railway services.