CHINA: The signalling and communications systems on the Hong Kong and Mainland sections of the Guangzhou – Shenzhen – Hong Kong Express Rail Link high speed line were connected on July 5, enabling the third of the nine trainsets for the future service to be delivered from CRRC Qingdao Sifang’s factory by rail instead of by sea.

‘This is one of the key milestones of the XRL project, marking full connectivity between the Hong Kong section and the Mainland section of the high speed rail network’, said MTR Corp Projects Director Dr Philco Wong when the trainset arrived.

The 350 km/h XRL trainsets are based on the CRH380A design, with eight cars offering a total of 579 seats plus two wheelchair spaces. The remaining six sets are expected to arrive in Hong Kong later this year.

According to MTR Corp, the XRL project was 94·3% complete by the end of June, and opening is envisaged for the third quarter of 2018.

‘Tracklaying works and installation of overhead lines have been substantially completed’, Wong reported. ‘Overhead lines in the main tunnels and along parts of the tracks at West Kowloon Terminus have been energised. The signalling and communications systems of both the Hong Kong and the Mainland section were connected on July 5. This allows the operation control centres at the Shek Kong stabling sidings and in Guangzhou to be able to jointly monitor trains operating along the whole Guangzhou – Shenzhen –Hong Kong section.’