Ten Fastest Trains In The World

The fastest train in the world, the Shanghai Maglev​, operates in China at speeds of 267 miles per hour.
The fastest train in the world, the Shanghai Maglev​, operates in China at speeds of 267 miles per hour.

High-speed trains operate on special railways to produce travel times that are significantly faster than traditional train times. They often travel at speeds over 200 miles per hour and are mainly used as a means of public transportation. Some trains have even exceeded 375 miles per hour! The technology began in Japan though has spread to other countries as well and has completely changed the experience of commuters. When previously traveling between home and work could take the better part of a day and forced workers to spend less time at home with family, they are now able to make the same trip in a matter of minutes or a few short hours. Business travel has also changed, allowing for decreased ticket cost compared to airlines and shorter travel times compared to conventional trains or buses. This article takes a look at some of the fastest trains in the world.

Fastest Trains in the World

Shanghai Maglev

The Shanghai Maglev located in China can travel commercially at 267 miles per hour (mph) although it can reach speeds as high as 311 mph. This train is also the world’s first high-speed magnetic levitation train meaning it does not touch the ground, using instead, magnets to move it along. The cost was $1.2 billion, and the investment was made to connect the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to the edges of Pudong where travelers make a connection to the Shanghai Metro line to move into the city center. This is a distance of only 22 miles, but travel time was reduced from approximately 35 minutes to only 7 minutes.

Harmony CRH380A

The second fastest train in the world is the Harmony CRH380A also located in China. Its original operational speed was 236 mph although it can reach up to 302 mph. After a train accident in 2011, the operational speed was reduced to 186 mph. This model was created for use on the Beijing-Shanghai railway which connects the two big cities over 819 miles of track. This train allows the trip to be made in approximately 4 hours compared to its predecessor’s nearly 10-hour time frame.

Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000

The Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000 is the third fastest train in the world and will travel at speeds of up to 220 mph on the Italian high-speed railway. This rail network connects all of Italy’s major cities, running from Turin to Venice, passing through Milan, and Turin to Salerno via Milan, Bologna, Florence, and Rome. The distance from Turin to Venice is 249 miles and typically takes 3.5 hours to 4 hours. This will be cut to just over an hour with the new train.

A complete list of the world’s ten fastest trains and their operating speeds can be found below.

Ambitious Projects Of The Future

Several countries are currently planning high-speed train systems although the idea is cost-prohibitive for many governments, particularly those of developing economies. In the US, for example, high-speed trains are only available now to connect east coast cities, but states in the central and western coast of the country are looking into projects to connect their big cities at faster rates. A lack of government funding has slowed these ideas, however. California has approved a high-speed line to connect its major cities over more than 800 miles although its construction has been delayed several times. Australia is also planning a high-speed line to connect Sydney and Canberra with hopes of continuing to Melbourne in the future. This rail line would decrease travel times currently provided by airlines. The country has yet to begin the project.

The Ten Fastest Trains In The World

RankTrainOperating Speed
1Shanghai Maglev267 mph
2Harmony CRH380A236 mph
3Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000220 mph
4Renfe AVE217 mph
5DeutscheBahn ICE205 mph
6Eurostar e320 and TGV200 mph
7Hayabusa Shinkansen E5200 mph
8Thalys186 mph
9Hokuriku Shinkansen E7161 mph
10Amtrak Acela Express150 mph

More in Travel