CSR Qingdao Sifang high speed train for the Hong Kong - Shenzhen - Guangzhou Express Rail Link.

CHINA: The first of nine high speed trainsets which MTR Corp has ordered for the Hong Kong - Shenzhen - Guangzhou Express Rail Link was rolled out by CSR Qingdao Sifang on November 6.

MTR Corp said the 'sweeping streaks of red and white on the livery of the eight-car train reflect the warm, smooth and comfortable travel experience that they will provide', while the 'sharp orange arc on the side of the first car is symbolic of a Chinese dragon and denotes the train's Chinese heritage.'

MTR Corp placed a HK$1·74bn order for the trainsets in early 2012. Based on the CRH380A design, the trainsets will have two driving trailers and six motor cars with a total of 579 seats. They are designed to operate at up to 350 km/h, although they will be limited to 200 km/h on the section of the ERL within Hong Kong which will be entirely in tunnel.

The first trainset is to be tested in mainland China before being shipped to Hong Kong for commissioning in April 2014. MTR Corp said it has put system assurance and system integration programmes in place to manage risks, and has commissioned an independent assessor to evaluate the safety of the trainsets and signalling systems.

'We are excited to see the first of our high-speed trains roll off the production line', said MTR Corp CEO Jay Walder. 'This marks a significant milestone in the Express Rail Link project, moving us a step closer to the reality of revolutionised journeys to the mainland of China. Not too long from now, trips between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will be measured in minutes instead of hours.'

The first 102 km section of the high speed line between Guangzhou South and Shenzhen North opened in December 2011. The remaining sections to the Hong Kong border and the 26 km Express Rail Link within the Special Administrative Region are under construction for opening in 2015.

  • The Express Rail Link project was described in detail in the February 2011 issue of Railway Gazette International, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.