With bright announcements, governments and engineering companies let us know that they have the fastest trains in the world.
The Chinese told the world that they have a train that can reach 245 MPH; Italy has just presented one which will run at 250 MPH; the Japanese feature a futuristic magnetic levitation train topping at 361 MPH.
All these trains exist, they have actually reached such speeds, but they all also share the same downside: you can’t buy a ticket and enjoy a ride at their rated speed.
The reasons are that either their normal service speed is lower, or those trains are not in service at all (or at least not yet).
Therefore, if you are in Europe, you will hardly find a train with a normal service top speed higher than 200 mph (Italy will follow with 225 mph next year), with similar top speeds in China and Japan. China even reduced its fastest trains’ top speed from 220 mph to 186 mph after an accident in 2011.
The main reason behind such discrepancies between train top speed and service speed is given by railway networks, which set a limit for speed, regardless of the train going through them.
While running at 200 mph or faster is still awesome, one could wonder which the fastest train in normal service is.
Well, there is one which reaches 267 mph in normal service already.
You can find it in Shanghai, China and it is a Magnetic Levitation train (meaning that it has no wheels).
Unfortunately the track is only 19 mi long, therefore this train is not in service between two cities, and you can’t use it for long distance travel. It only connects Shanghai’s international airport to city suburbs. The ride lasts less than 8 minutes.
However, if you want to know how traveling on the ground at almost 300 mph feels like, you can do that in Shanghai!
Here you can watch a video of mine showing the journey between departure and top speed of 268 mph (the display inside the car shows speed in metric units, which is 431 km/h.)
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