10. AVE class 103 – 402 km / h
None of the ten fastest trains in the world stays below the 400 km / h mark – and tenth place is no exception. The so-called AVE Class 103 from Siemens, on which the German ICE is also based, has been operating in Spain since 2006 and reaches speeds of over 350 km / h on the Madrid-Barcelona route. In tests in 2006, it even managed 402 km / h.
9. Fuxing Hao CR400AF – 435 km / h
Wikimedia commons / N509FZ
Fuxing, which means “rejuvenation” in German, is an express train of the Chinese railways and is known in China as the blue or red dolphin or the golden phoenix, depending on the paintwork. The Fuxing is considered to be one of the fastest conventional trains and reaches more than 350 km / h in regular operation, although in a few years it should be regularly on the move at up to 400 km / h. In tests, the Fuxing even raced at a maximum speed of 435.
8. Shinkansen 955 (300X) – 443 km / h
imago images / Kyodo News
Hardly any other train stands for high speeds like the Japanese Shinkansen, whereby the name (meaning “new main line”) refers to both the route network and the trains. The Shinkansen test train 300X reached its highest speed in 1996 with 443 km / h. This was also characterized by the long nose that is characteristic of these trains: It is there to prevent it from banging so loudly when entering tunnels.
7. CRH 380A (BL) – 486 km / h
Wikimedia commons / Tyg 728
These Chinese high-speed trains, which are based on the Velaro platform from Siemens (including ICE 3), already have their top speed in their name: 380 km / h. However, the 380BL even reached 486 km / h during test drives. The special thing about the trains that run throughout China is that they can reach high speeds even with many cars: with a maximum of 16 cars, the CRH can still travel at around 300 km / h.
6. Inter City Experimental ICE / V – 499 km / h
Deutsche Bahn once advertised itself as having the fastest train in the world. This was also the case when an Intercity Express broke the official speed record for rail vehicles at 406 km / h in 1988. Even before that, the experimental ICE had almost reached the 500 km / h mark. Curious: In order to save energy, today’s fourth generation of the ICE drives with a maximum of 265 km / h significantly slower than its predecessor, which reached up to 320 km / h.
5. Transrapid Shanghai – 500 km / h
In Germany, the Transrapid project was stopped in 2011 after billions had already flowed into magnetic levitation technology. The Transrapid now runs regularly in China and is currently the fastest commercial train in the world: With a top speed of 430 km / h (in tests in 2003 it even reached exactly 500 km / h), it needs to cover the 30.5-kilometer route from downtown Shanghai to the airport just under eight minutes.
4. TGV – 515 km / h
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France was considered the country of fast trains from an early age: as early as 1955, a test drive in southern France reached 331 km / h. The Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV), introduced in 1980, continued the tradition of chasing records and repeatedly set new records. In 1990, a TGV virtually pulverized the high-speed record set up in 1988 by the German competitor ICE (406 km / h) and raced into the history books at 515 km / h. The length of France’s high-speed routes is now almost 3,000 kilometers.
3. TGV V150 SNCF – 574 km / h
The next TGV in our list. The V150, which was specially put together for the record run, reached an insane 574.8 km / h on April 3, 2007! To this day, the train with almost 27,000 hp (!) Holds the record as the fastest wheel-rail vehicle in the world. Why the name V150? The speed (fr. «Vitesse») is so high that the train covers 150 meters in one second.
2. JR-Maglev MLX01 – 581 km / h
Wikimedia Commons / Daylight9899
A test train on the Japanese JR Maglev magnetic levitation train was even a touch faster than the third-placed TGV in 2003. In the attempt to set the record, the MLX01 reached 581 km / h. But it was not until 2009 that the final decision was made that Japan would use magnetic levitation technology for commercial operations: the magnetic levitation train should connect Tokyo with Nagoya in 2027.
1. Shinkansen L0 – 603 km / h
So a Shinkansen in first place? Yes and no. In principle, the L0 series is based on the second-placed MLX01 – but the name Shinkansen is intended to emphasize the tradition of high-speed trains. The magnetic float, also designed with the characteristic long nose, broke the magical 600 km / h mark in 2015 and sped up to a speed of 603. When the train goes into official service in 2027, it will complete the 286-kilometer Tokyo-Nagoya route in 40 minutes. Today’s Shinkansen takes 90 minutes.