TOP 10 FASTEST TRAINS IN THE WORLD
“While a new era of supersonic airplanes remains a concept, bullet trains are a reality around the world—and they’re getting faster.” ~ CYNTHIA DRESCHER
Traveling Europe by train is already faster than by plane right now, and Japan is testing a “Supreme” version of its popular high-speed trains, set for a 2020 debut ahead of the next Winter Olympics. You can’t ride that one just yet, but there are more than a few bullet trains available to speed up your travels. Here are the world’s fastest high-speed trains in commercial service, ranked by speed:
1. Shanghai Maglev: 267 mph
The world’s fastest train isn’t the newest, the shiniest, or even the one with the most expensive tickets. Charging $8 per person, per ride, the Maglev runs the nearly 19 miles from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport to the Longyang metro station on the outskirts of Shanghai.
2. Fuxing Hao CR400AF/BF: 249 mph
China wins again, also serving as home to the world’s fastest non-maglev train currently in service. The name “Fuxing Hao” translates to mean “rejuvenation,” and each of the two trains has been branded with nicknames: CR400AF is “Dolphin Blue,” and the CR400BF is “Golden Phoenix.
3. Shinkansen H5 and E5: 224 mph
Japan is celebrating the 54th anniversary of high-speed train travel this year, since it was way back in 1964 that the Hikari high-speed train launched service between Tokyo and Osaka, cutting travel time between the country’s two largest cities from nearly seven hours to a mere four by rail.
4. The Italo and Frecciarossa: 220 mph
Italy’s dueling train operators, NTV and Trenitalia, each flaunt a high-speed train that ties as Europe’s fastest, capable of shuttling passengers from Milan to Florence or Rome in under three hours, with a new route to Perugia debuting this year.
5. Renfe AVE: 217 mph
Spain’s fastest train is the Velaro E by Siemens, and it is used for long-distance services to major Spanish cities and beyond: traveling from Barcelona to Paris can now be accomplished on high-speed rail in six hours.
6. Haramain Western Railway: 217 mph
The Mecca-Medina high-speed link stretches the 281 miles between Saudi Arabia’s most holy cities and has been in partial operation since December 2017, with full completion set for early summer 2018.
7. Deutsche-Bahn ICE: 205 mph
The distinctively futuristic white and silver of the Inter-City Express, or ICE, combined with its sharp red cheatline, makes an impressive sight speeding through the scenic German countryside, especially on its newest route connecting Berlin and Munich.
8. Korail KTX: 205 mph
South Korea’s high-speed rail network is far from the newest (the KTX debuted in 2004), but it does hold its rank among the fastest.
9. Eurostar e320 and TGV: 200 mph
Both the TGV and Eurostar e320 trains are tied for next on the list, but the latter underwent a redesign in 2015.
10. Thalys: 186 mph
Connecting Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and Cologne with multiple daily services, the Thalys is one of Europe’s most important train lines for both leisure and business travelers; in fact, its ridership is almost an even split between the two categories.
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