There are two types of train trip: The long, slow, and often luxurious train journey that takes you through beautiful scenery that you book specifically to spend time on the rails; and the speedy, no-nonsense, cheap train ride you take to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. In the first category, you’ll find grand trips like Australia’s The Ghan, South Africa’s Blue Train, and Britain’s Caledonian Sleeper. In the second, there are trips from London to Brussels in just two hours , from Rome to Venice in four hours, and from Miami to Orlando in three hours. And if you’re a train traveler who belongs to the second category and likes getting places fast without flying, there are plenty of trains in this world that do just that at speeds previously unimaginable on land, including the fastest train in the world and its closest competitors.
- What is the fastest train in the world? How fast is it and where is it?
- What is the fastest train in the US?
- What is the fastest train in Europe?
- What is the fastest train in Japan?
- What is the fastest train in China?
- What is the fastest train in India?
- What is the fastest train on the African continent?
- In general, how fast do high-speed trains go?
- Ranking of the five fastest commercial trains in the world in 2023
What is the fastest train in the world? How fast is it and where is it?
The fastest commercial train in the world is the Shanghai Transrapid Maglev Train in China. It can reach a top speed of 267.8 mph (431 km/h).
The fastest non-commercial train in the world is the Yamanashi Maglev Line in Japan. It is currently being tested and improved upon and does not carry passengers on a regular schedule. The Yamanashi Maglev Line can reach a top speed of 374.68 mph (603 km/h).
What is the fastest train in the US?
Currently, the fastest train in the US is Amtrak’s Acela which operates at a maximum speed of of 150 mph (241 km/h). Acela trains are high-speed trains that run on the East Coast between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, stopping at train stations in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland along the way. Acela trains complete the journey between the two cities several times daily in seven hours.
Amtrak has announced a new Acela fleet for late 2023 with trains running at the top speed of 160 mph.
Acela trains are not the only high-speed trains in the US, however. Brightline operates high-speed trains that can reach 130 mph on Florida’s west coast.
What is the fastest train in Europe?
The fastest commercial train in Europe is Germany’s ICE 3, specifically, the 403 and 406 series, running at the maximum speed of 205 mph (330 km/h). It is closely followed by France’s TGV running at 198.8 mph (320 km/h). The Eurostar and Italy’s Frecciarossa can reach a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h).
What is the fastest train in Japan?
In Japan, the Shinkansen, AKA the bullet train, can reach the top speed of 198.8 mph (320 km/h). But Japanese trains can go much faster — Japan holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest Maglev train in the world since April 2015. The magnetically levitated train, named the Yamanashi Maglev Line, is only a test train, but it can reach a top speed of 374.68 mph (603 km/h). See what it’s like to ride in this incredibly fast train in the video above.
What is the fastest train in China?
The fastest commercial passenger train in the world is the Shanghai Transrapid Maglev Train, that runs between Shanghai International Airport and the Shanghai’s financial district. While the trip is only 18-mile-long (30 kilometers), the train reaches a top speed of 267.8 mph (431 km/h), making for a very quick eight-minute train ride. The train runs every 15 minutes. The Shanghai Transrapid Maglev Train holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest maglev train in regular public service.
What is the fastest train in India?
The fastest train in India is the Vande Bharat Express, operated by Indian Railways and in service since 2019. The Vande Bharat Express was able to reach a top speed of 111.8 mph (180 km/h) during tests, but is only running at 99.4 mph (160 km/h) as a commercial passenger train. The Vande Bharat Express operates on 18 different routes around India.
What is the fastest train on the African continent?
In 2018, Morocco’s Al Boraq became Africa’s first high-speed train. Though plans are in place to extend the rail system to service the tourist centers of Marakkech and Agadir, the train currently connects the port city of Tangier on Morocco’s northern tip to Casablanca about a third of the way down the country’s Atlantic coast, servicing the capital city of Rabat along the way. On par with France’s TGV and Japan’s Shinkansen, Al Boraq reaches an impressive maximum operating speed of 198.8 mph (320 km/h).
In general, how fast do high-speed trains go?
According to the UIC, the International Union of railways, a train is considered high-speed if it can reach 155 mph (250 km/h) on dedicated railway lines. In the US, the threshold is much lower, with various official organizations (including the United States Department of Transportation) defining high-speed rail as a rail service that can reach 110 mph (177 km/h), 125 mph (201 km/h), or 150 mph (241 km/h), depending on who you ask.
Ranking of the five fastest commercial trains in the world in 2023
The following ranking does not take into consideration the top speeds reached during tests, only the speeds that the trains are able to reach during commercial journeys.
1. Shanghai Transrapid Maglev Train, China: 267.8 mph (431 km/h)
The Shanghai Transrapid Maglev Train operates between Shanghai International Airport and the Shanghai’s financial district, a 18-mile-long (30 kilometers), eight-minute trip during which the train reaches a top speed of 267.8 mph (431 km/h).
2. CR400 Fuxing train, China: 217.4 mph (350 km/h)
The CR400 Fuxing trains, of which there are several variants, including the CR400AF-G that can run in -40 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celcius) weather, are operated by the state-owned China State Railway Group and can reach a top speed of 217.4 mph (350 km/h). China claims to have the longest high-speed rail system in the world with over 22,000 miles of tracks.
3. ICE 3, Germany: 205 mph (330 km/h)
Deutsche Bahn’s ICE 3 trains run at a maximum of 186.4 mph (300 km/h) in Germany but can reach a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h) on dedicated lines in France.
4. TGV, France: 198.8 mph (320 km/h)
Debuted in 1981 between Paris and Lyon, France’s TGV has reached a top speed of 357.1 mph (574,8 km/h) in 2007 in a test between Paris and Strasbourg, but it does not go any faster than 198.8 mph (320 km/h) during its daily commercial operations.
4. Shinkansen, Japan: 198.8 mph (320 km/h)
Japan’s Shinkansen or bullet train, inaugurated in 1964, operates nine routes across the country, and can reach the top speed of 198.8 mph (320 km/h).
4. Al Boraq, Morocco: 198.8 mph (320 km/h)
Just like the French TGV and the Japanese Shinkansen, Morocco’s Al Boraq, which runs from the city of Tangier to Casablanca, can reach a top speed of 198.8 mph (320 km/h).
5. AVE S-103, Spain: 192.6 (310 km/h)
Spain’s AVE S-103 reaches the top speed of 192.6 mph (310 km/h) on its route between Madrid and Barcelona. It is the fastest commercial train in Renfe’s fleet.