Gallery: China Unveils the World’s Fastest High Speed Train


China is speeding towards the future of public transportation with the launch of the fastest high-speed train on the planet! Averaging 217 mph (350 km/h), the new train is faster than a speeding bullet train, and will link Wuhan in central China to Guangzhou in the south, covering a total distance of 663 miles (1,068 km). The new rail service will cut the travel time between the cities from over 6 hours down to 2 hours and 45 minutes. Note to the US: we need one of these!

China’s new rail service travels through 20 cities along its route, connecting central China and less developed regions to the larger and more industrial Pearl River Delhi. Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom worked together to design and build this feat of modern transportation, which topped out at a whopping 245mph (394km/h) during trial runs earlier in December. The average speed will be 217 mph (350 km/h), which is much faster than the other high-speed trains around the world. Japan’s high-speed rail runs at an average of 243 km per hour, Germany’s at 232 km per hour, and France’s at 277 km per hour.

China has released a massive rail development program, which will expand the high-speed rail service to 42 more high-speed lines by 2012. The government hopes that the rail lines will help spur economic growth, especially in less developed areas. While increased development isn’t quite our taste, we certainly support low carbon transportation like rail service, especially if it goes that fast. Imagine if the US had a high speed train like China’s – a trip from New York City to Chicago would take a little over 3 1/2 hours without all the hassle of flying and airports.

The Times of India via Gizmodo

Lead photo by Benjamin Lowy


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  2. Lenin Jayasinghe June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

    As ASians we are proud to associate to thank the Chinese people of their great achievments in all fields for their welfare and happiness and the people of Asia Africa and the rest of the world and we are also proud tomake a special note evern the most highly developed countries are interested in making overtures to buy Chinese buils Speed Trains Good Luck Lenin Jayasinghe Sri Lanka

  3. grgarcia December 25, 2010 at 1:17 am

    In deciding for the best transport system, be it bus,rail or air or even car in this time of climate change, it is always best to look at economics, ollution, travel time, safety, efficiency and affordability by vast majority of constituents, not just the rich nor the middle class, but also the poor people. Rail, I think has all the possibilities and flexibility more than the others, even combined.Give RAIL a chance to have better and sustainable cities.
    G.Garcia, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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  6. matts mahumane November 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    The Americans are better off sticking to their cars and planes for two main reasons: 1. the lengthy process of acquiring the private land, compensation and building the rail track will cost hundred times more than in China where the government does not have such problems. 2. The allocation of the money will be another husle with politicians trying to outdo each other, and then the usual labour disputes and endless strikes. The opposition by airliners and and other groups with vested interests will drive the cost sky high, not to mention the Americans love for their cars and freedom.

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  9. burnstreet March 16, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I tried to find somthing in google about the 1966 360mp/h train, but could not.
    In 2007 a special TGV on a specially prepared track reached 357m/h (574 km/h), holding the current world record for traditional trains.
    The article is wrong in one point, the fasted commercial train in Germany is the ICE Frankfurt-Paris, travelling at up to 320km/h. It started operation in 2007.

    ecloud said:
    “China can do this because they do not value safety more than practicality as we do.”

    pfft. German security standards are among the highest in the world and we have these high speed trains since 20 years.

  10. san_narciso March 15, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    The world’s fastest train is

    a modified TGV.

  11. creativhms January 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    The worlds fastest train was made in Los Angeles California in 1966 by Ruhr industries and is able to reach 360 mph. The rail test track in Pueblo Colorado was not completed and cut by Ron Regan but even on the short length it reached 156 mph. The train is still on display at Pueblo airport (check out on Bing). The project was buried by Boeing to help airline sales but the system is still the best as the current system we are using is 200 years old and very unsafe. The display model is actually a working unit and the patients are now public domain. It would be the cheapest and best system for the US high speed system. needs only half the area and quarter the cost.

  12. ModelTrainGuy January 2, 2010 at 8:12 am

    BRAVO to China!

    As you expand HSR (High Speed Rail) across the mainland, may your safety record be “Top Notch” and your Signals: Green!

    I Agree 110% on the “Note to the US: we need one of these!” We have been Long OVERDUE! How long? Keep reading….

    Fact: The FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) began setting aside tax dollars in 1966 – TWO Years after Japan began revenue service with their Bullet Trains (aka the Shinkansen) – for an American version of HSR. (Where IS the money? Start with the Politicians that are still alive and wiling to talk about it.)

    Fact: France began the TGV in 1981….and are STILL Expanding this very day!

    Remember NOVA on PBS (Public Broadcasting)? In 1982 they aired “Tracking The Supertrains”. Yes. Not only did I watch, I was literally “salivating at the thought of being in the drver seat of a High Speed Train several years after gradualting from High School.”

    The proposal was just “Incredible”! As far as I know the video is at YouTube. Just go to that site, type in “Tracking The Supertrains” OR “NOVA – 1982- Tracking The Supertrains”. It’s all there! Just start with Part 1 and you will see just how CLOSE the USA got to HSR!

    [No. That’s NOT my website that has them….but I DID convice the guy to post all 6 (when I learned he posted 2 parts).]

    Anyway, some 18 years after that original broadcast, all the USA got is ‘Limited Acela Express Service’ in the Northeast Corridor between Boston, Massachusetts (my Homecity) & Washington, DC. Since 2000, that’s all we have. Sad right?

    Imagine the Acela reaching Chicago by now. It could have been another year or two away from reaching the Florida State Line maybe even into Miami. “Disneyworld” anyone?

    Since my childhood, I have ALWAYS been a strong believer in HSR. Today, it has NOT Changed. I blog about it, too.

    I disagree with “ReaperBz” comment “in short, no we don’t need one of those.”,

    Actually, we DO Need MORE than one of those.

    It’s all a matter of keeping the Politics & Poltricks OUT of the HSR Project.

    People have told me “….you have got to look at the economics of it” & “…it’s not economically feasable”.

    That’s all I ever hear from the naysayers. Including” Trains derail all the time….” THAT one alone since Childhood. But I was not convinced of that. As I did not hear of such accidents in Japan. Just “Smooth ride”, “On-time Departures//Arrivals” And, ‘the operator will step out of the cabin to appologize (with a Bow) for a delay in service’.

    Talk about “Customer Relations!”

    Imagine when I tell Naysayers “….Japan (about their Bullet Trains) had 1 Derailment (No Injuries. No Deaths!) since Day One – 1964! Cause? Earthquake! When? About the Summer of 2004. The look on their face: Priceless.

    That’s especially from those that are same age as I, to those just a few years older than me.

    And, bob64, I could not have said it better myself! I hold no degrees and I’m no physics engineer, I give Kudos to you for your “‘Spot On and Outstanding Comment!

    Come on America! We NEED (more) HSR Expansion! How much longer do you want to wait?

  13. COPE2 January 2, 2010 at 3:25 am

    you definitely need one, especially since those as-ho’s at home land security is making it nearly impossible to fly without being harased. for a country that values so much freedom, it sure seems to be very authoritarian. pretty soon, america is going to limit where you can walk, while monitoring your every move.

  14. manny December 30, 2009 at 7:19 am

    very impressive…,ll never be late for that important meeting!

  15. siowena December 30, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Interesting comment: “we certainly support low carbon transportation like rail service, ”
    Given the amount of energy and CO2 given off by all the concrete used in building the route, also all the maintenance efforts, is it really low carbon? Anyone who has been to China, as I have, remembers the massive amount of concrete used in everything from buildings, roads, bridges, etc. I’ve not seen a comparision of the end-2-end CO2/energy costs of a train vs plane vs road vehicle.
    Do you know of any? LIke the MIT study of Hummer vs Prius.
    e.g. My car consumes no energy and produces no CO2 while I am in the house or at work or in the shops. The packed-standing-room-only train I used in this morning’s commute returns up the line, nearly empty. Likewise when I use it to get home (again packed), it returns to the city, again mostly empty. Why is this CO2 not used in the calculations of train vs plane vs car.

    Also, what happens when all the new affluent chinese move into the ‘burbs? What we need is not major huge expensive ‘fixed’ programs like this, what is needed is a more flexible transportation system. This issue in the UK is that our rail systems do not go where people want to go, hence they are money losers needing massive government subsidy.

    When people in the US go on holiday, the planes can be re-routed to serve that need, and then re-routed when everyone tries to get home on special occasions (e.g. thanksgiving). Trains only go where the track is, and likewise cars where the roads go.

    Easy to build these ‘huge’ projects in a coutry where the government can say “shame about your house, but we knocked it down for the train, dam, windfarm,etc. Remember it is for the greater good!”

    Sometimes living in a country where it is not so easy to get these projects built has its benefits.

  16. GeekPete December 29, 2009 at 1:38 am

    They need MagLev trains in a vacuum tunnel underground 😉 No drag and faster speeds. You could also build them heaps larger to carry more people/cargo. The only remaining problem is powering them with clean energy and devising the cleanest way to build the trains and all the required infrastructure.

  17. ecloud December 29, 2009 at 12:01 am

    China can do this because they do not value safety more than practicality as we do. We have the technology, but we’re too complacent to do it, and we also would not do it “without all the hassle of flying and airports” – we’d add enough artificial hassle that it would end up much less of a leap forward.

  18. Gibb1991 December 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    These trains are powered by electricity and use 1/3 the energy per passenger or airliners and 1/5 per passenger the energy of automobiles.

  19. MichaelMcC December 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    As I recall the main term in laminar air drag is a cubic function of velocity for a given geometry: V squared because the momentum you have to change goes with the square of velocity, times V again because the amount of air you have to move aside goes up with the velocity.

    While cubic isn’t exponential it goes up steeply enough that it’s a serious issue. Double your speed, multiply your energy requirements by eight.

  20. bob64 December 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    The aerodynamic drag of a single well-designed train compared to enough airplanes needed to carry the same cargo completely beats planes.

    Think about it, even if airplanes have a smaller coefficient of drag, the cross-section of a train is superior. Once the front breaks through, the rest follow in the hole it makes in the air. Whereas multiple airplanes must keep breaking new holes in the air – lowering the efficiency needed.

    Also, trains are not as BOUND to weight. It does not have to overcome gravity. Trains can also be powered by multiple sources.
    Electricity, diesel, gas, hybrid technology, regenerative braking. Electricity is the best: you can generate it from many things. Solar power, gas generators, diesel generators, hydro power, coal power, solar furnaces, nuclear power. Planes have one fuel: jet fuel. Which comes from ONE place: oil.

    How many tons of cargo do you think a train can carry vs a plane? Which do you think needs more fuel to power for the same cargo? A plane has to fight gravity and also move forward (fighting friction and drag). A train only has to move forward.

    I think trains are the way to go. Especially for transportation – if the infrastructure is as well developed as airplanes. This is the major weakness of trains. Infrastructure. I’d prefer trains when compared to driving a car across large distances. It’s safer. Don’t have to worry about idiots merging into you or car problems (nail in tires, a seal blows in the engine – leaking oil everywhere). Trains are best for moving TONS of cargo.

  21. turbulence December 28, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Please also note that overwhelmingly boring comments lead to drag forced upon speed readers too! : )

  22. busninessTraveller December 28, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    And a trip from the west to the east coast would take approximately 10 hours. Currently it takes:
    1 hour to get to the airport
    1 hour security harrassment and XcattleX (oops) passenger loading
    15 minutes take-off procedures
    5 hours flying time
    30 minutes deplaning
    30 extra to pick up checked luggage
    1 hour to get downtown.
    ~ 9.5 hours.
    Would I take a little extra to ride a train downtown to to downtown? In a heartbeat! As long as TSA and the airlines continue to conspire to make air travel as miserable as possible by treating passengers as potential crimilnals and inconveniences (instead of giving them the courtesy of being passengers who need to be protected), the airlines will continue to lose business and high-speed trains will look like a better and better bet.

  23. KPinSEA December 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I’ve ridden the Shanghai maglev. Cool but a huge money-loser, it’s an amusement park ride, not a transit system.

    There are a couple corridors with sufficient population to justify this kind of high-speed rail in the U.S. … Boston-to-D.C., San Francisco to San Diego ….

    Otherwise, the distances are too great and population density too light, and air travel remains a superior option. What is great for Japan or China with their population densities is not necessarily great for North America.

  24. Korben Dallas December 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Drag force is not an exponential function. Drag force is a quadratic function. Moreover, the drag is quadratic only when it is overwhelmingly dominated by the turbulent airflow, with negligible laminar component. It real life, the drag force is a mix of a linear (laminar) and quadratic (turbulent) components. A train is naturally a very efficient aerodynamic shape, which means that the linear component of the drag is still considerable.

  25. ReaperBz December 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    That ” Note to the US: we need one of these!” really bothers me. Because mass transit doesn’t work in the U.S.. The fact is that in most cities, the buses, trains, for whatever else public transit system they have, they are losing money. Why? one word, sprawl. People have been moving away from the cities and into the suburbs, so, there simply isn’t enough people living in cities taking these trains or buses to support its cost. The clear difference in China is that they have a lot of people, as in, a LOT.

    in short, no we don’t need one of those.

  26. Kirsten Corsaro December 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Very cool! How is it powered?

  27. Androo December 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    While it is better than short haul air travel, at those speeds, it’s not that much better. More speed means more power, since drag force is an exponential function. Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a free lunch…

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