World’s Fastest Trains

They are fast. Super fast. They are futuristic, comfortable and safe. Super safe. The world’s fastest trains, be it magnetic levitation or conventional line, can easily rival their air competitors. They might not be as fast as planes, but they are so much more reliable, punctual, safer and greener.

See which countries can boasts the fastest trains in the world.


5. AVE. Spain.

300 km/h (186 mph)

Ave train. By Chris Juden

AVE, meaning Spanish High Speed (Alta Velocidad Española), or simply  “bird”, runs at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph). The trains are operated by RENFE, the Spanish state railway company, but there is also the private operator Alvia, whose trains run at a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

The Ave system has absolutely nothing in common with the Spanish relaxed attitude toward time. On the route between Madrid and Seville, RENFE assures an arrival within five minutes of the advertised time, offering a refund if the train is delayed further. However, to date only 0.16% of trains have been delayed more than a few minutes. So not Spanish!


4. CRH. China.

350 km/h (217 mph), top speed 394.3 km/h (245 mph)

Thanks to CRH2, it takes only half an hour to travel from Beijing to Tianjin. By Thomas Yung

China Railway High-Speed, the Chinese rail system, operates a number of bullet train models such as CRH1, CRH2, CRH3, CRH4 and CHR5. The fastest type is CRH3, based on Siemens Velaro technology, designed to run at the speed of 350 km/h (though in 2008, a CRH3 reached a top speed of 394.3 km/h (245 mph) during a test carried out on the line between Beijing and Tianjin).

Another fast model among the Chinese high speed trains is CRH2, produced by the Japanese Kawasaki Heavy Industries. In October 2009 the Ministry of Railways announced that it planned to invest 1.2 trillion yuan ($175.44 billion) to develop and extend the railway system in China. The aim is to have 13,000 km of passenger lines by 2012. A new contract for 140 new 350km/h capable high speed trains has also been signed between the Ministry and Nanche Sifang Locomotive through a technology licensing agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries.


3. Shanghai Maglev Train. China.

250 km/h (160 mph), top speed 431 km/h (268 mph)

Shanghai Maglev. By Erwyn van der Meer

The high speed monorail train called Transrapid is a German invention that uses magnetic levitation. Currently, the only commercial implementation of the system is in Shanghai, China. The train runs the distance of 30 km from the airport in 7 minutes 20 seconds, at the average speed of 250 km/h (160 mph) and the top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph).
In 2003, during a trial run, a Maglev vehicle achieved a Chinese record speed of 501 km/h (311 mph).

The Transrapid trains have not yet been implemented on long-distance intercity lines.

By jrawle


2.TGV. France.

320 km/h (199 mph) top speed 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph).

TGV. By an agent

TGV is a flagship product of France, almost as iconic as the Eiffel Tower and baguettes. The high-speed train service was developed during the 1970s and opened to the public in 1981. At present it reaches 150 destinations in France and several foreign cities located in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland.

Among the fastest TGV trains are TGV Réseau and TGV Duplex- their top speed is 320 km/h (199 mph). The trains hold the world’s highest average speed for a regular passenger service.

In 2007 SNCF, the TGV operator, and Alstom, the TGV builder, carried out a series of high speed trials. The official speed record attempt took place on 3 April 2007, when TGV reached the top speed of 574.8 km/h (159.6 m/s, 357.2 mph). It is the fastest conventional train that uses powered metal wheels riding on metal rails.

TGV. By Alain Stoll


1. Shinkansen. Japan.

300 km/h (186 mph), top speed 581 km/h (361 mph)

N700-series Shinkansen. By kamoda

The Japanese knack for technology is manifested in the high speed railway system that covers the entire country. The Japanese Shinkansen, also called a bullet train, is super fast, super safe (40 years of operating without a single major accident) and super comfortable – it runs at least six times per hour between Tokyo and Osaka, and the average arrival time is within six seconds of the scheduled time.

In 2003, the three-car train JR-Maglev achieved 581 km/h (361 mph) on a magnetic-levitation track, wining the title of the fastest non-conventional train in the world. On average, bullet trains are capable of running at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), but Japan has already commenced works on constructing a new Shinkansen that could achieve a speed of 360 km/h (224 mph). The new train, named E5 series, will start operating in 2012 and will run between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori stations, 54 minutes faster than the previous model.

E5 series, Pre-production set 2009. By DAJF


If only more countries could have such an ambitious rail system.


  1. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to fight patent infringement in the US.

    Just about everyone thinks that no one in the United States could be this smart. It has been our leaders in Congress and Presidential administrations that have left us without the lead.

    On July 29, 1997, Jim O’Donoghue now of Lawrence, Massachusetts was issued U.S. Patent #5,651,318 for his maglev prototype invention under the surname of O’Donohue which perpetuated a misspelling that was never corrected to include the “g” until just a few years ago at the urging of his wife.

    The Shanghai Maglev Technology (SMT) was patented in the United States under U.S. Patent #6,782,832 by its original inventors Dieter Reichel of Max Bögl Bauunternehmung GmbH & Co KG, and Jürgen Feix of CBP Cronauer Beratung Planung GmbH. Jürgen Feix is the Geschäftsführender Gesellschafter (Chief Executive Officer) of CBP Cronauer Beratung Planung an engineering planning consultant firm that was the finalist in the competition to design the Transrapid’s new guide-way as a subcontractor for Siemens Thyssenkrupp on the Shanghai maglev project.

    Reichel and Feix reference the O’Dono(g)hue Patent. O’Donoghue’s invention was the first to address undercarriage airflow via an exhausting bumped out skirt on the vehicle in combination with sloped-sides and ledges in a new guide-way design itself.

    The Shanghai Maglev Technology became the second technology to address undercarriage airflow by simply, utilizing the O’Donoghue invention’s sloped sides and ledges. Reichel and Feix modified the ledges and placed the sloped-side and ledge design underneath the Transrapid’s older top ride surface.

    Additionally, this added structural strength to guide-ways making them capable of running for longer spanning distances between support columns as found in the O’Donoghue invention.

    The sloped-side and ledged guide-way design, results in forcing away otherwise turbulent air flow that wraps around under-wrapped, attractive force elevated maglev vehicles. Air is now enabled to flow away from the guide-way so that this air can no longer strike against the infrastructure’s support columns creating the decades long bumpy ride imperfection that had prevented attractive force maglev technologies from commercialization. Prior to O’Donoghue’s discoveries the bumpy ride was mistakenly theorized as an attractive force magnetic defect, when in fact it never was.

    To understand this visually one must think of a maglev vehicle floating as would a buoyant body. Each time that the forward moving body’s air struck against the support columns underneath the guide-way, it was like a watercraft striking against a wave at its peak just before crossing over. The result was a bumpy ride. The older maglev technologies worked similar to air filled bumpy door closers.

    Maglev’s float on air is similar to a boat floating in a pond. Should the water be disturbed the boat will rock in a bumpy fashion. Maglev’s were being disturbed when the airflow that they float on became disturbed.

    Along the way, O’Donoghue had discussed his patent with a well known Boston venture capitalist who over the telephone suggested that he should attempt to contact the companies that were already involved in Maglev development to see if they would be interested in his invention. O’Donoghue did that. The entities never wrote back but instead they produced newer designs and updates that seemed to work around O’Donoghue’s discoveries and improvements.

    O’Donoghue’s was the first maglev invention to be introduced with saw-tooth magnetic balancers that create forward electromagnetic pull in addition to regular current flow in its long stators’ design configuration. Saw-tooth magnetic balancers are another O’Donoghue invention found within the same United States Patent as the new guide-way and undercarriage designs.

  2. taken the CRH train ( similar to E2 or E5 from KHI) It is comfortable, stable, quiet and clean. Passengers are served free drink when aboard.
    The cabin crew is courteous and helpful too.

  3. The images of the trains are very nice. They are fast. Super fast. They are futuristic, comfortable and safe. Super safe. The world’s fastest trains, be it magnetic levitation or conventional line, can easily rival their air competitors. The photography work is appreciable. I also traveled with these trains and really are good.


    Fredrick. William

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