Google and Uber are being courted into buying minority stakes in a franchise that will serve the HS2 north-south train service.
According to The Times, the transport department is trying to make sure that by the time the rail line opens in 2026 - ending what will be one of Britain’s biggest single construction projects - it is future-proofed against new technologies, such as automated driving.
They want Google and Uber – in addition to other digital pioneers in sectors such as retail and e-commerce – to act as investors, buying stakes in the new super-consortiums that would bid for the right to run trains when the department launches a new franchise in 2019.
However, the Times quoted an unnamed industry source as saying that “getting them as equity partners is going to be very tough.”
The transport department said: “HS2 will be the backbone of Britain’s railways, creating more seats for passengers on the West Coast and the rest of the network. In order to deliver a world-class experience for passengers, we want the leading companies in innovation and customer service on board.”