MTR has unveiled the new high-speed train which once operational in 2015 is expected to strengthen economic ties between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Testing is set to begin on the first of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link’s high-speed fleet to. Once complete, it is expected to be shipped to Hong Kong in April where it will undergo a final testing and commissioning process.

The eight-car train, which has a maximum operational speed of 350 km/h, has been built by CSR Qingdao Sifang and is based on the CRH380A design.

CSR Qingdao Sifang is building nine high-speed trains, each capable of carrying 579 passengers, for the project in an order worth HK$1.74 billion.

The “sharp orange arc” in the livery of the new vehicles is symbolic of the Chinese dragon, says MTR.

Jay Walder, chief executive officer of MTR Corporation, said: “We are excited to see the first of our high-speed trains roll off the production line. 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.”

Speaking to Global Rail News in September, Simon Tang, MTR’s general manager for the project’s tunnelling programme, said that the tunnelling programme was close to completion, with 90 per-cent of the south-bound alignment expected to be completed by the end of the year.