The first of the 140mph Japanese bullet trains that will go into service on the UK rail network in 2009 arrived in Britain.
The six-car Hitachi Class 395 train reached Southampton on board a roll-on, roll-off ferry.
The bullet trains will be used by the Southeastern train company for domestic services on the soon-to-be-completed final section of the Channel Tunnel Rail link from Kent into central London.
The trains will also play a key role in 2012 London Olympics transport provision by taking spectators from St Pancras station in London to the Olympics site at Stratford, east London, in just seven minutes in a service to be known as the Olympic Javelin.
St Pancras International station is due to open in November 2007.
Manufactured in Kasado, Japan by Hitachi, the train which arrived today is the first of four which will be delivered over the coming months.
The remaining 25 trains will arrive in 2009 in time for the start of the new services in December of that year.
Alistair Dormer, general manager at Hitachi Rail Systems London, said: "Hitachi is delighted to deliver the first Class 395 train to the UK, on time and on budget.
"Today is a major milestone for Hitachi and for everyone involved in the Class 395 project. We now look forward to working with our partners to complete testing and delivering the trains ready for service in 2009."
Southeastern managing director Charles Horton said: "The arrival of the first high-speed train into the UK is great news. When these trains enter service, they will slash journey times across the region, encourage more people to travel by train and bring new standards of comfort and reliability.
"They will also play a key role in providing fast and easy access to the London Olympic Games at Stratford in 2012, with a journey time to and from London St Pancras of just seven minutes. Our ambition to create a growing railway for a growing region has taken an important step forward."Artist's impression of the new train in action
Recently, the Government announced that Hitachi UK was one of three organisations shortlisted to compete to build a new generation of express trains for the UK's rail network in a contract expected to be worth around £4 billion.
Hitachi Europe is up against Alstom-Barclays Rail Group and the Express Rail Alliance - a consortium involving four companies, including Bombardier and Angel Trains.
1. Using both high-speed and existing lines, journeys to St Pancras will be slashed after two years of trials from 83 to 37 minutes from Ashford, 102 to 61 minutes from Canterbury, and 98 to 63 minutes from Dover.
2. In the mid-Seventies, British Rail's Intercity 125 was outpaced only by the Japanese, but since then Britain has stayed at 125mph and been overtaken by 186mph railways around the world.
3. The new trains will be quicker than any service except Eurostar.