Chinese rolling stock firm Sifang has signed an eight-year deal with UK-based PriestmanGoode to help design high-speed trains to operate on China’s new high-speed rail network.

The designs will be presented to China’s Ministry of Railways, which is undertaking a major $300bn programme to build 35 high-speed lines across the country by 2012.

The ministry plans to reveal the train designs by the end of the year, with the launch of the new trains scheduled for October 2010.

Each train will be over half a kilometre long and will feature a 12m-long nose section, designed to allow a travelling speeds of over 350kph.

The new deal, which follows an agreement earlier this year to develop the trains’ concept, requires Priestmangoode to work with Sifang’s in-house design team to see the designs through to production.