The contract, estimated at £275m, will see the selected contractor turn a 30-hectare brown field site into the nerve centre of the HS2 network, where the trains are serviced and maintained.
Bidders are expected to be shortlisted for the single-stage design and build contract in the summer with contract award in 2023.
The Washwood Heath site was formerly home to the disused Metro-Cammell railway works which closed in 2004. Laing O’Rourke Murphy JV completed the demolition of the buildings on the site last year, ready for the start of construction.
The new depot will include a 40,000 m2 rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight.
Also on the same site will be the network integrated control centre, the signalling and control systems HQ, as well as office buildings for cleaners and drivers.
HS2 Ltd commercial director David Poole said: “The start of the search for a contractor to build Washwood Heath is a real milestone for the HS2 project and a huge long-term opportunity for the area. With main works civils construction now well underway, we are putting the specialist team in place to support operation of the new railway.
“Washwood Heath will be at the heart of the operation – and around 500 high skilled jobs based at the depot will be a major boost for the community.”
Once operational, Phase One and 2a will have a fleet of at least 54 trains that will be based at Washwood Heath. These 200-metre long units can be doubled up to create 400-metre trains.