The Department for Transport has shortlisted five companies to build trains for the new HS2 rail network.
Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation UK, Hitachi Rail Europe, Patentes Talgo and Siemens are vying for the £2.75bn contract.
The winner will design, build and maintain some 54 new high-speed trains.
The vehicles, which can travel at speeds up to 225mph, are expected to come into service in 2026.
The government has been criticised in the past for awarding transport contracts to overseas businesses instead of UK companies.
In 2011, it chose to hand a contract to build train carriages for the Thameslink rail route to Siemens, which rival Bombardier said threatened 1,400 jobs at its Derby plant.
A number of the companies that have been shortlisted have UK production lines such as Hitachi’s manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, while Alstom is developing its new train technology and manufacturing facility in Widnes, Cheshire.
HS2 minister Paul Maynard said on Thursday: “Thousands of skilled British jobs and apprenticeships will be created by HS2, which gets a step closer as we reveal the companies shortlisted to build the high speed trains.”
In summer, the government announced which companies would build the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham.
Preparatory work has begun and major construction work is due to start in 2018-19.
The five bidders for the train-building contract will tender next year and the contract will be awarded in 2019.