Obviously, trains can’t fly like airplanes over oceans. But that doesn’t convey trains can’t run as fast as airplanes. While this new era of supersonic planes remains a concept, bullet train is a reality around the world. These bullet trains are getting faster and faster. Just last year a Japanese train reached 374 miles per hour on a test track, covering 1.1 miles in only 10.8 seconds and hitting a new world record. You can not ride that one just yet, but definitely few bullet trains are available to speed your travels. Here are the world’s fastest trains in commercial service, ranked by their operating speed.
Fastest trains in the world- Top 12
12 Hokuriku Shinkansen E7: 161 mph / 259 kmph
The E7 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type managed by East Japan Railway Company. Manufacture of the E7 series sets was shared between J-TREC in Yokohama, Hitachi in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe.
Tickets for the inaugural run of this train sold out in 25 seconds, and it’s no surprise when you consider that the line’s debut reduced travel times from Tokyo to Kanazawa and Toyama, over the “Japanese Alps” on the other side of the country from four hours to just two.
Hokuriku Shinkansen E7 features has 12 car sets in total. With a total seating capacity of 934, the 12-car trains have accommodation in 3 levels of service: Green car, Gran Class and ordinary-class cars. The train has a maximum design speed of 170 mph (275 km/h) but operate at a maximum speed of 161 mph (259 km/h)
11 Thalys : 186 mph / 299 kmph
Thalys is an international high-speed train managed by Thalys International NMBS/SNCB (28%), (SNCF (62%) and Deutsche Bahn (10%)) and operated by THI Factory NMBS/SNCB (40%), (SNCF (60%).
Connecting Brussels, Paris, Cologne and Amsterdam with multiple daily services, Thalys is one of Europe’s most crucial train lines for both business and leisure travelers. Unlike many national train companies, children below 12 years old who are alone, are not allowed to travel on Thalys.
Peak speed of Thalys is 186 mph (299 km/h) on a dedicated high-speed rail track which is electrified at 25 kV AC OHLE.
10 THSR 700T : 186.4 mph / 300 kmph
The THSR 700T is the high-speed electric multiple unit trainset got from the Japanese Shinkansen family for Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR). Based primarily on the 700 Series Shinkansen and with the “T” referring to Taiwan. 700T trains are built in Japan by the association of three major companies – Nippon Sharyo, Hitachi and Kawasaki heavy industries.
Started on 5th January 2007 between Kaohsiung and Taipei City, THSR 700T can reduce the journey time between these cities to just 90 minutes. A 700T in total train has 12 car set. Furthermore, 9 out of 12 car provides power for the train featuring a multi-engine system. What it offers is the space and high speed.
09 ETR 500 Frecciarossa Train : 186.4 mph / 300 kmph
Elettro Treno Rapido 500 (ETR500) is a family of Italian high-speed trains introduced in year 1993. Now operated by Trenitalia on RFI tracks it is Designed under the aegis of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS). Currntly it is the fastest train service in Italy.
Frecciarossa trains are built by a association of Alstom, AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier manufacturing companies. Standard class, business class, executive class and premium class are the four main cabins of a Frecciarossa train. The cars of these tains are sound proof and offer free Wi-Fi.
Between Milan and Rome there are 28 non-stop Frecciarossa trains now. At maximum speed of 186.4 mph a Frecciarossa train will reach Rome from Milan covering 570 kms in just 2 hours and 40 minutes.
08 SNCF TGV Duplex : 198.8 mph / 320 kmph
It is the fastest train service in France. TGV duplex trains are manufactured by Alstom manufacturing company. Started the service in Dec, 2011 TGV Duplex is operated by the SNCF railway company. The train can achieve maximum speed of 198.8 mph.
It is a high speed, double-deck train that connects all important cities in France. TGV Duplex has a seating capacity of 508 and is one of most comfortable European trains. The train offers three main classes for passengers – TGV Pro, first class and standard class. The standard class features a bar buffet, snack vending machines and comfortable seats.
07 Eurostar E320 : 200 mph / 320 kmph
Eurostar E320 was manufactured by Siemens and designed by Pininfarina. The Eurostar’s series “e320” is a signal to its new top speed of 200 mph (3220 kmph), which beats the old speed of 300 kph and trim the average Eurostar journey by 15 minutes.
Began to run from November 2015 Eurostar e320, provide Eurostar services through the Channel Tunnel to serve stations beyond the core routes to Brussels and Paris. Having seating capacity of 900 the new E32o, in one trip, is capable to transport more passengers than two Boeing 747s.
06 E5 Series Shinkansen Hayabusa : 200 mph / 320 kmph
The E5 series is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train type operated by East Japan Railway Company. Build by Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries is the fastest train service in Japan today.
E5 series Shinkansen train is operated between Aomory and Tokyo. At top speed of 320 kmph, E5 series would reach Aomory station from Tokyo (distance – 715 kms) in just 2 hours and 56 minutes.
The front car of E5 series Shinkansen train has a 15 meter long nose which help to minimize the vibration and sound while the train goes through the tunnels. A seating capacity of 731, the E5 series Shinkansen has 10 car sets. Each E5 series has three main classes – gran class, green and standard. The gran class offers only 18 seats, standard class offers 658 seats and green class offers 55 seats. The gran class is the major attraction of Hayabusa train.
05 Talgo 350 : 217.4 mph / 350 kmph
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of intercity, standard, and high speed trains. TALGO stands for Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol, Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated train. This different design of Talgo 350 is optimized to handle pressure waves. In Spain it is also known as ‘Pato’, named because of its duck beak like nose of the front car.
Talgo 350 trains have been operating at a top speed of 350 km/h on the Madrid-Valladolid and Madrid-Barcelona lines. The train consists of two power cars and 12 passenger cars with additional primary suspension and improved brakes.
In Talgo 350 trains the seating facilities are divided into four classes – First class, Club class, Coach class and Bistro class . All class in Talgo 350 features very comfortable reclining seats with foot rests.
04 Siemens Velaro E/AVS 103 : 220 mph / 354 kmph
Siemens Velaro E is the Spanish version of Velaro E high speed trains manufactured by German engineering corporate Siemens. In Spain, Velaro trains are known as AVS 103. The Velaro E operates between Madrid and Barcelona.
Velaro E run at a maximum speed of 220 mph. Velaro E high speed trains can take passengers from Madrid to Barcelona in just 2 hours and 30 minutes. Velaro E achieved a top speed of 250.84 mph during trails.
The high speed Velaro E trains are odered by the Spanish National Railways in 2001. In June 2007 this high speed train begun services. Velaro E has 8 passenger cars with seating capacity of 404.
03 AGV Italo : 223.6 mph / 359 kmph
AVG Italo is the fastest train in Europe. AVG Italo has a maximum operational speed of 223.6 mph. During initial test in 2007, AVG set a record speed of 356.6 mph. This high speed train is built by French manufacturing company Alstom. The Italian company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) ordered 25 AVG Italo trains from Alstom for € 650 million in 2008.
It operates between Naples and Rome. The passengers of AVG Italo trains can reach Naples from Rome (distance – 140 mi) in just an hour.
With 98% of its parts are recyclable, AVG Italo has great Eco friendly structure. Italo has 11 car sets. The seats are divided into three classes – Smart, Prima and Club. All three classes of AVG Italo train offers live television, adjustable leather seats and free Wi-Fi.
02 Harmony CRH 380A : 236.12 mph / 380 kmph
Harmony CRH 380A of China railways is the second fastest operating train in the world. CRH 380A trains are manufactured by Rolling Stock company and the CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive. The CRH 380A trains have low weight Aluminium alloy body and has a fish-head like front car. This unusual design of the train reduces aerodynamic pressure while running on track. The bogies of CRH 380A trains are completely vibration free.
This electric, multiple unit train can reach a maximum speed of 236.12 mph in commercial service. During initial tests it sets a record speed of 258.58 mph. The China railways put CRH 380A into regular service between Shangai-Nanjing route .
At a time CRH 380A trains can carry 494 passengers. Each passenger will get facilities like power port, reading lamp and an electronic display. Near the driver’s cabin, there is also a VIP sightseeing section. It display view of the running CRH 380A train. One whole car unit is dedicated for serving drinks and food for passengers.
01 Shanghai Maglev : 267.8 mph / 431 kmph
Shanghai Maglev is the fastest train in the world currently. Maglev is an abbreviation for “magnetic levitation” means suspension or floating of an object by magnetic field. Shanghai Maglev has no wheel as it floats on magnetic field exist between the track and the train. The Shanghai Maglev was built by ThyssenKrupp companies and Siemens and is operated by Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co.
Shanghai maglev can reach its maximum speed of 267.8 mph from 0 mph in just 4 minutes. Shanghai maglev started its public service on 1st January 2004. It operates between Pudong international airport and Long Yang road. The Shanghai maglev takes only 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the whole journey.
It cost US$8 for one ticket and for VIP ticket you have to pay US$16 to travel in Shanghai maglev. Shanghai maglev train has passenger capacity of 574. Shanghai maglev train operates between every 15 minutes.
If you want see how fast this train can go just watch these 3 minute video: