High Speed Train Worldwide

Basic Facts

Total Length: About 30,000km (18,600mi)

Speed: 200km/h (124mph) to 350km/h (217mph) in operation; 574.8km/h (357.2mph) experimentally

First Commissioning Date: October 1, 1964

List of Countries/Regions with High Speed Rail: Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan

China High Speed Train
High Speed Train in Mainland China
Taiwan High Speed Train
Bullet Train in Taiwan

The country with the longest high speed railway: China

China's high speed railway network in use reached 2,2000km (13,600mi) by the end of 2016, accounting for over 65% of the world’s total. It is still expanding. According to plans, it will reach 30,000km (18,600mi) by 2020.

World’s first high speed railway: Tokaido Shinkansen

Tokaido Shinkansen was put into use in Japan in 1964, connecting Tokyo and Osaka with a track length of 515.4km (320.3mi). The running speed at that time was 200km/h (124mph), cutting the travel time from 6 hours to 4 hours. In 1992, the top running speed was raised to 270km/h (168mph), shortening the travel time to about 2.5 hours. 

The first cross-border high speed trains: Eurostar

Eurostar trains were first put into service in November of 1994, connecting London in the UK, Paris in France, and Brussels in Belgium. Today, the Eurostar high speed trains are still the only cross-border high speed trains in the world.

The current highest running speed: 350km/h (217mph)

The fastest trains today are the Fuxinghao trains of China running along Beijing – Shanghai High Speed Railway. Following are TGV trains of France and the E5 and E6 trains running along the Shinkansen between Utsunomiya and Morioka in Japan; both of their speed is 320 km/h (199mph).

The speed record on track: 574.8km/h (357.2mph)

The record was set by the TGV high speed trains of France in 2007, but the train used was a special experimental type and the voltage was raised temporarily for the experiment. Another speed record is 486.1km/h (302.1mph) under normal operating conditions made by China bullet train, but it had no passengers onboard. The highest speed clocked experimentally was 605km/h (376mph) by China.

China high speed train tickets are the cheapest.

Below is a price list for six countries that account for 90% of the world’s high-speed rails.
Country/ Region EUR/km
China 0.04
France 0.22
Spain 0.19
Italy 0.25
Japan 0.22
Germany 0.27

One thing to note is that all countries except China offer a discount on tickets. Still, the price is higher than in China.

World’s longest high speed railway: Beijing – Guangzhou High Speed Railway

Its track length is 2,298km (1,428mi) long with 36 railway stations along the way and cuts the duration of the trip from 20 hours to 8 hours. The construction work took over 7 years to complete  from 2005 to 2012.

Business Class of China High Speed Train
Business Class of China High Speed
Second Class of China High Speed Train
Second Class of China High Speed

The deepest high speed Railway Station: Yujiapu Station in Tianjin, China

Both the platforms and waiting halls are constructed underground. Its deepest part is 31 meters (102 feet) underground. From the outside, it looks like a giant shell. China is now building an even deeper high speed railway station under the world-famous Badaling Great Wall; it is said that its deepest part will reach 102 meters (335 feet) underground.

The next-generation high speed train: Hyperloop

According to the latest experimental designs, the train will run in a vacuum tube to overcome the resistance of the air and the track. The expected speed may reach 1,200km/h (745mph) or even higher. Many countries have started to work on it, including the United States and China.
- Last updated on Dec. 14, 2022 by Brenda Lian -
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