Chinese Train Smashes World Record for High Speed Rail Travel

by , 09/30/10

green transportation, high speed rail, china, shanghai, bullet train, green train, chinese train

In another triumph for green transportation, Shanghai’s latest bullet train has obliterated the previous record for the fastest high speed train in the world by 21km/h. The lightning fast train was able to reach a speed of 415km/h, and come late October it will service lucky commuters traveling from Shanghai to Hangzhou (which are approximately 202km apart). To be clear, the Shanghai train broke the world record for high-speed train travel, not conventional rail travel. The record holder for conventional rail travel is the French TGV, which clocked in at 574 kph.

The only concern that locals have about the train is that its speed and convenience won’t come cheap. Tickets will be around 100 Yuan (or about $15) for a first-class ticket, while a fare on the slower train will be around half price. But honestly, wouldn’t you pay $8 bucks more to be able to hit the snooze button 3 or 4 extra times?

Via Gizmodo and PopSci

Image Credit: Occam

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  1. Guy Average December 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

    The train is fast, no doubt. Is it really Green? The Chinese are notorious for ignoring environmental standards. The article doesn’t say what powers this train, but if it is electric, the electricity in China is primarily coal-fired (by a large majority), although there is hydro and nuclear in that order. No emissions standards at all in China, for the most part.

  2. THW October 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

    The TGV train hitting 574 kph was a prototype train stuffed with testing equipment. The passangers were only technicians, reporters and some VIPs. A lot of things were build in and tested prior to the release in the new Alstom HS train AGV. Above that a lot of research was done for a better understanding of very high speed trains in general.
    Besides that not only the train was a protoype also the track was specifically set up such as higher tension on the catinary line and others.
    So far the speed record for a regular train set designed for daily operation on a regular high speed line was done by a Velaro train from Siemens in Spain going 404 kph.
    Therefore the speed record here of 415 kph has to be seen as a follow up of the Spanish record. It is a world record for off the stock train sets on high speed tracks.
    Anyway, it deserves highest respect to the Chinese to come up with such a record. If considering the short time since they entered the high speed market even though supported by a major share of forreign knowledge they have done it. We can be sure there is more to come.
    It wouldn’t be surprising if they even breake the French record not too far from now.

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  5. psmisc October 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I think what the article meant was that high speed rail = dedicated tracks, while conventional rail = old tracks + tilted trains.

    TGVs are tilted trains that run on “conventional” tracks designed for much lower speed. Slow tracks have much sharper turns. To prevent people from being thrown off their seats, the trains automatically tilt during turns.

    This train on the other hand runs on dedicated tracks designed from the ground up for high speed, mainly for safety reasons. Though it’s a much more costly solution.

  6. dreamerman October 4, 2010 at 7:19 am

    What a beautiful train! I’d pay 8 bucks more just to SEE it! Heheh. Didnt i hear something a while back about a crazy project to build a new bullet train line to connect china with london? Probably just a proposal, but what a fantastic journey that would be if it happened! I somehow doubt that would cost just $15 though. Incidentally – $15 may be expensive for china but that’s still less than a quarter the cost of a first class ticket on the new high speed line in england that i travel on. And that is just a 60 mile trip or so.

  7. stefan_ October 4, 2010 at 4:09 am

    The 574 km/h TGV was a one time run. Max speed on regular sevice is 320 km/h, average speed being lower.

  8. ptitol October 4, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I’m a bit skeptical this means of transportation is so green after all. I repeatedly read/heard that one of the reasons for the TGV, ICE or Shinkansen not exceeding 300-350kph or so is the extra energy required. This train might boast some special aerodynamic features but somehow I doubt it (no particular ground for doubting except other companies producing high speed trains did not come up with fantastic solutions just yet – again I can be wrong)
    Anyhow, I guess we will see very quickly after opening if the trains hit up the maximum speed or the operator decides otherwise.

  9. bbriann October 4, 2010 at 1:53 am

    high speed trains in japan and europe can go faster than this train on trial runs.

    they don’t go this fast regularly because they have high safety standards – maybe being too cautious? but a common complaint of chinese rail system is 1. they copy foreign technology and 2. they lack the safety standards that most other countries with hsr have.

    this article is misleading because of this fact.

  10. Anonymous___ October 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Sounds like someone’s confusing:
    * “conventional rail” vs non-conventional (i.e. maglev)
    * “commercial operation” vs a trial run

  11. munford October 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I guess this is breaking the record for commercial operating high speed train. French TGV is a testing run record.

  12. Deeksie October 1, 2010 at 5:11 am

    The record for the TGV was done on a trial run, as in, I don’t think it had any carriages. But this high speed train will be hitting it’s top speed on regular passenger journeys.

    If that’s right…the post didn’t make that clear at all.

  13. Mr. Green September 30, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    It does sound strange that a “stock” high Speed Rail train is slower than a so-called “conventional rail” train. The French TGV that set the record at 574 kph is not a regular “stock” train. It was a juiced up train designed to set a speed record. It was able to achieve this record speed for a short duration. No “stock” French TGV in regular service can achieve this record speed. The recent HSR train that set the HSR record at 415 kph is a “stock” train like another other HSR train servicing passengers on this line. The article should have explained the background a little better so people won’t be confused.

  14. Eletruk September 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Something doesn’t sound right. The speed record for high speed rail is LOWER than the speed for conventional rail? I guess I don’t understand how TGV (“With Great Speed”) doesn’t qualify as high speed rail.

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