A British-based trainmaking company will learn today whether it has won a key £1 billion contract to supply rolling stock for the cross-London Crossrail project.
Bombardier of Derby, which has suffered contract disappointment in the past from overseas opposition, is up against competition from Japan's Hitchai and Spanish firm CAF for the lucrative and potentially job-saving Crossrail deal.
A decision on Crossrail is thought to be imminent and could come as early as this morning.
The contract is for 60 trains for the £14.8 billion west-to-east Crossrail scheme which is due to open in 2018.
Success for Hitachi would be a boost for the company's manufacturing plant at Newton Aycliff in Country Durham which opens in 2016 and which has already won other UK rail contracts.
In a controversial decision in 2011, Bombardier lost out to Siemens of Germany for a £1.6 billion contract for trains for the southern England Thameslink project.
Last week, rail minister Stephen Hammond s aid the Government could not assure that future contracts would go to bidders with large manufacturing bases in Britain due to European procurement laws, although he admitted "everyone" hopes the Crossrail contract will be awarded to a UK-based company.