We’ve all heard about the Japanese Bullet train, the French TGV and the Shanghai Maglev but which one is fastest? There’s only one way to find out. Read this.
6. InterCityExperimental (ICE)
Top Speed: 406.9 km/h (253 mph)
The InterCityExperimental train line in Germany was a huge project that took nearly 30 years to fully complete. It is 337km long with 120km of tunnels and takes just under three hours to travel from Hanover to Würzburg. In 1988, the ICE-V train set a new world record on this track recording a speed of 406.9km/h. The record remained unsurpassed until 1990.
Top Speed: 487.3 km/h (303 mph)
This passenger-only high speed line was opened in 2011 after just 38 months of building work. The 1318km track was designed to link China’s two main industrial cities, Beijing and Shaingai. It takes between five and nine hours to complete the journey depending on the amount of station stops. The project cost $25.5 billion with all the funding courtesy of the Ministry for Railways and provincial and local governments. Specialist trains were commissioned for the new line and the first CRH380BL trains were finished in 2010. The new models smashed previous speed records set on Chinese railways, recording a top speed of 487.3km/h on January 10th 2011.
Shanghai Maglev Train
Top Speed: 501 km/h (311 mph)
The Shanghai Maglev opened in 2004 and is the world’s first commercially operating maglev train. It takes passengers from Pudong International Airport to the Lujiazui financial district of Shanghai completing the 30km journey in under nine minutes. Before it opened to the public, a series of tests were run including a speed test which recorded a top speed of 501km/h in 2003.
3. SNCF TGV POS
Top Speed: 574.8 km/h (357 mph)
575.8km/h is the fastest speed ever recorded on a commercial railway. It was achieved by the French national railway SNFC on 3rd April 2007. They used a specially modified three-car TGV train called the V150. In order to have it reach such high speeds, engineers added four extra powered axels and raised the power output from the gas turbine/electric motor from 9.3 Megawatts to 19.6.
2. JR-Maglev MLX01
Yamanashi Maglev Test Line
Top Speed: 581 km/h (361 mph)
The JR-Maglev MLX01 held the world record for the fastest maglev train in the world, recording a speed of 581km/h on the 2nd December 2003 on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line. The technology is planned to be rolled out on a new train line linking Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. The 505km track is estimated to open in 2027 and cost a cool $122.44 billion. The reason for the staggering cost of the project is that it includes plans to drill over 360 miles of tunnels so to keep the track running in a straight a line. Work is planned to begin in 2014 and the finished trains will be able complete the 404km from Tokyo to Osaka in 67 minutes nearly three times quicker than current trains complete the journey.
1. JR-Maglev L0-Series
Yamanashi Maglev Test Line
Top Speed: 603 km/h (375 mph)