You may be surprised to learn that it’s not just automobiles and airplanes that are capable of incredible speeds. Trains running can actually pin you against the back of your seat and travel hundreds of miles in the blink of an eye.
Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and England are expanding the European network with other countries expected to follow by the 2030s, CNN reports. South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan have established high-speed routes. India, Thailand, Russia and the United States are committed to building new railways where trains will travel at speeds of more than 250 kph (155 mph).
1. Shanghai Maglev – 460 kph/286 mph (China)
In the world of trains, China has the largest high-speed rail network. The Asian giant has the longest high-speed line on the planet (from Beijing to Guangzhou-Canton, 2,300 km), the highest (the bullet train to Tibet, at an altitude of 5,000 meters) and has in the pipeline the train that intends to break all records: a bullet train that could reach 620 km/h (620 mph).
Although not a traditional train in the usual sense, Maglev trains are still technically vehicles that run on tracks. These trains use a system of magnets to float above the track to avoid the problem of friction. Maglev trains are also interesting because there are no moving parts besides the train itself. This means that these trains are not only faster than conventional trains, but also quieter.
In 2015, an L0 Maglev series train from Japan broke the record for the “world’s fastest manned train” by achieving a record of 370 mph. That same month, it ran again and set a new record of 375 mph.
2. CR400 ‘Fuxing’ — 350 kph/217 mph (China)
The Fuuxing Hao is a network of high-speed trains running on conventional railroad tracks. These high-speed trains have their own names and CR400AF is known as Blue/Red Dolphin.
This train is one of the fastest conventional trains in the world that is in regular use and commercial service. It operates at a top speed of about 217 mph, but during testing achieved a top speed of 270 mph.
3. ICE3 — 330 kph/205 mph (Germany)
The Intercity Experimental was developed as an experimental train in the 1970s in Germany. It was created to investigate high-speed trains for the country.
After a series of tests, researchers managed to push one of the variants to 310 mph. Of course, this was not a realistic standard running speed, but in 1988 the new Intercity-Express trains broke land speed records for rail vehicles when they exceeded 252 mph.
4. TGV — 320 kph/198.5 mph (France)
This train seems to have a bit of a complicated name. But for the most part they are all acronyms. SNCF is the state-owned rail operator in France and TGV stands for Train à Grande Vitesse, which translates as “high-speed train.” A fitting designation since this train not only breaks records, but is also part of the country’s high-speed rail network. Meanwhile, POS stands for Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland, which gives you an idea of how far the train travels – Paris, eastern France and southern Germany.
This train uses motor cars with a total power of about 12,900 hp. In 2007, this train set a world speed record by traveling on conventional rail lines at a top speed of 574.8 km/h.
5. JR East E5 — 320 kph/200 mph (Japan)
Japan introduced the world to the concept of new high-speed railroads in 1964 and continues to be a world leader, pushing the limits of speed, capacity and safety on its Shinkansen lines.
While most Shinkansen currently operate at a maximum of 300 kph (186 mph), Japan Railways East’s (JR East) E5 “Bullet Trains” run up to 320 kph (200 mph) on the Tohoku Shinkansen, which runs north from Tokyo. to Shin-Aomori.
Each train has 731 seats and 32 induction electric motors delivering an impressive 12,900 horsepower. Constructed of lightweight aluminum alloy, the E5s have “active suspension,” allowing them to negotiate curves at higher speeds.
The extraordinarily long nose of the driving cars was designed to reduce the sonic booms created when trains enter tunnels at high speed. Introduced in 2011, 59 trains were built and since 2016 have also been used north of Aomori on the Hokkaido Shinkansen, which is connected to Japan’s main island of Honshu by the 54-kilometer (33.5-mile) Seikan underwater tunnel under the Tsugaru Strait.