This article discusses the world’s fastest trains; trains have played an important role in society since the first steam railway was built in 1802. During the height of the Industrial Revolution, British innovators developed steam trains, giving the empire a new means of transporting products and people. It quickly became global as nations throughout the globe hastened to follow suit and construct their railways to stimulate economic development and international commerce.
The race to expand rail networks coincided with efforts to increase train speed around the globe. When it opened in 1964, Japan’s Tkaid Shinkansen or “bullet train” was the world’s first high-speed rail system. It has the potential to exceed 200 kilometers per hour (more than 124 miles per hour).
8 Fastest Trains in the World
Shanghai’s 460 kph Maglev Train
It is the world’s fastest public train and the only connection that transports people through magnetic levitation (Maglev) as opposed to the more common steel wheels on steel tracks. It can transport passengers from Shanghai’s Pudong airport to the Longyang Road station in the city’s central business area in less than eight minutes at its maximum commercial speed of 460 kilometers per hour. Strong magnets allow the fastest Maglev trains, which are based on German technology, to run at amazing speeds on an elevated track with negligible friction.
Fuxing Hao: 249 mph
The world’s non-Maglev fastest trains can also be found in China, giving the country another victory. Each train has been given a unique moniker; the CR400AF is called “Dolphin Blue,” while the CR400BF is known as “Golden Phoenix.” Each can carry up to 556 people in little under five hours between Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao Station, easily cutting in half the almost 10-hour period it takes to travel the traditional, parallel train route between these two megalopolises.
Other routes, like as Jinan-Qingdao and Guangzhou-Zhuhai, have been added to the network of cities serviced by these trains in recent years, and in 2018, the world’s longest high-speed rail route, which connects Beijing and Hong Kong in only nine hours, began service.
France’s TGV: 198.5 mph
The name of this train is a little confusing. Yet, the vast majority of these terms are abbreviations. Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) is the French acronym for the state-owned SNCF, which operates the country’s railways. A name befitting a record-breaking train that also contributes to the nation’s high-speed rail system. Meanwhile, POS is an abbreviation for Paris, Eastern France, and Southern Germany, so you can get an idea of how long the train goes.
The combined horsepower of the locomotive and the motor vehicles on this train is about 12,900 horsepower. This train reached a peak speed of 574.8 km/h on standard rail lines in 2007, a new world record.
Spain’s Talgo 350: 200 mph Train
Spain’s high-speed train, the Talgo 350, is one of the world’s best. It has a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). Renfe, Spain’s main rail operator, first ran the train in 2005 and is still in service today. Talgo 350 trains have been utilized on several Spanish lines, notably the capital city’s high-speed line to Barcelona. The 1,638-kilometer (1,016-mile) trip between Madrid and Malaga made possible by the Talgo 350 in 2012 was the longest such trip ever completed without a single stop.
Al Boraq: A Fast Train at 198 mph
The Al Boraq, named after a winged horse animal from Islamic legend, connects Tangier and Kenitra in Morocco in under an hour, spanning 116 miles and making it one of the quickest trains in Africa. Although though the train has to slow down to travel on standard lines into the Casablanca terminal from Kenitra, the total trip time is cut in half, from over five hours to little over two. When the network of rails is updated to accommodate high-speed trains, more cities like Rabat will be added to the train’s 2018 list of destinations.
Germany’s ICE3: 330 kph/205 mph
ICE3s are capable of speeds of up to 330 kph (206 mph) if they are running late, despite the fact that the standard operating speed is 300 kph (186 mph). During trials, a top speed of 368 km/h (229 mph) was achieved. The ICE3’s performance is mostly due to the 11,000 horsepower generated by the 16 electric motors spread over the train’s eight compartments.
Trains from the ICE3 series run nonstop throughout Germany, linking key cities there to those in Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels. The Siemens “Velaro” line of high-speed trains is based on this concept; they have been sold to Spain, Russia, Turkey, China, and Eurostar for use in their next-generation international trains.
Japan’s JR East E5: 320 kph/200 mph Train
Shinkansen lines in Japan continue to push the limits of speed, capacity, and safety, having pioneered the idea of new high-speed railroads in 1964. Tohoku Shinkansen E5 “Bullet Trains” of Japan Railways East (JR East) may achieve speeds of up to 320 kilometers per hour when heading north from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori (200 miles per hour).
Each train features 32 electric induction motors producing 12,900 horsepower and can accommodate 731 passengers. The E5s are built from aluminum alloy for reduced weight, and its “active suspension” allows them to handle sharp turns at greater speeds.
In order to dampen the sonic booms caused by fast-moving trains entering tunnels, the noses of the driving cars were made unusually long.
Series Maglev: Reaching 374 mph
Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) engineers are hard at work on a train that will break the record for electric fastest trains by traveling at a blistering 374.3 km/h. You may be tempted to book a ticket to Tokyo simply to use this train, but keep in mind that it is still undergoing testing and may undergo modifications before it is ready for regular passenger operation. Openings for the segments between Tokyo and Nagoya and Osaka are planned for successive years. When completed, the L0 Series will be capable of speeds of up to 310 mph, making the trip from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo to Osaka in little over an hour and seven minutes (a distance of more than 300 miles).
The L0 Series maglev (magnetically levitated train) technology enables the train to levitate at speeds more than around 93 mph. This technology is being explored for use on a train line between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, among other potential applications.
About Author: The content is written by Shagufta. She has been writing informational articles for the past six years.