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This article provides of a list of operating High-speed rail networks, listed by country. High-speed rail is public transport by rail at speeds of at least 200 km/h (125 mph)[1][2]. The article also includes any planned expansion of existing high-speed rail networks in countries that already have one. For projects or plans in countries without existing high-speed rail lines, see Planned high-speed rail by country.


High Speed Rail by Country

For the purposes of this table, high speed rail is defined as passenger rail running at a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) or higher. Countries with scheduled services at 300 km/h or faster are highlighted in blue.

Country Total network
length (km)
Scheduled trains Test run speed record Average speed of
fastest scheduled train[3]
Austria 230 km/h 275 km/h 153 km/h
Belgium 326 300, 250 km/h 347 km/h 237 km/h[4]
China 6003[5][6][7] 431 km/h maglev
350, 330, 300, 250, 200 km/h conventional
502 km/h maglev
394 km/h conventional
313 km/h[8]
Finland 60 220 km/h 255 km/h 152 km/h
France 1700 320, 300, 280, 210 km/h 574 km/h 272 km/h
Germany 1290 300, 280, 250, 230 km/h (conventional) 550 km/h maglev
406 km/h conventional
226 km/h
Italy 814.5 300, 260, 200 km/h 368 km/h 178 km/h
Japan 2459 300, 275, 260 km/h (conventional) 581 km/h maglev
443 km/h conventional
256 km/h
Netherlands 100[9] 300, 250, 140/160 km/h[10] 336.2 km/h[11] <140 km/h
Norway 60 210 km/h 260 km/h 151 km/h
Portugal 314 220 km/h 275 km/h <140 km/h
Russia 600[12] 250 km/h 290 km/h 172 km/h[13]
South Korea 240.4 300, 240 km/h 355 km/h 200 km/h
Spain 1272.3 300, 250 km/h 404 km/h 236 km/h
Sweden 0 200 km/h 303 km/h 173 km/h
Switzerland 79 250[14], 200 km/h 280 km/h[15] <140 km/h
Taiwan 335.5 300, 240 km/h 315 km/h 245 km/h
Turkey 245 250 km/h 303 km/h <140 km/h
United Kingdom 109[16] 300 km/h, 201 km/h 335 km/h 219 km/h[4]
United States 734 241 km/h, 201 km/h 296 km/h 161 km/h

East Asia


China Railway High-Speed Network
Shanghai's Transrapid uses magnetic levitation to run at high speeds, but is not compatible with conventional tracks.

The Shanghai Maglev Train, a turnkey Transrapid maglev project, imported from Germany, is capable of an operational speed of 430 km/h and of a top speed of 501 km/h. It has connected Shanghai and Pu Dong International Airport since March, 2004. In April 2007, China opened several high speed rail lines between major cities, providing a network of 6,003 km, making it the world's largest high speed rail network, catapulting it from last to first place in network size. It is larger than all of Europe's networks combined. 8,000 km of the existing network has been increased to 160 km/h and a further 8,000 km has been upgraded to allow 120 km/h operation. This means that speeds have been increased on 22,000 km, or 29%, of the national rail network. [17] However, the Maglev line has suffered from low ridership, and as of 2008 various expansion plans (eg. to Hangzhou) remain stalled.

The Qinshen Passenger Railway (Qinhuangdao-Shenyang), China's first conventional high-speed line between, opened in 2003 with a maximum speed of 200 km/h (to be increased to 300 km/h). The Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail, based on InterCityExpress technology and the first in China to support 300 km/h, opened in July 2008. The Shitai Passenger Railway (Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan) started operating on 1st of April with a speed of 250 km/h. The construction of the 1,138-km Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway started in April 2008. Additional lines are also under construction so that by 2015, the high-speed railway network in China will be larger than the combined length and capacity of the rest of the world.

On December 10 2009, China test-ran the worlds-longest high speed railway line - the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway which reduces the travel time from Guangzhou to Wuhan to less than 3 hours. The maximum speed on this test run was 394 km/h, and the is the maximum operating speed of 350km/h or 380km/h is the world's fastest.

Serious social conflicts occurred in Hong Kong during the Guangzhou~Shenzhen~Hong Kong railway was being discussed in the community


Shinkansen network

Japan might be considered the pioneer of modern high-speed railways. Pioneering modern high speed rail, it also has the most heavily travelled, and was the largest network (in km) in operation until China opened 6,000 km of high speed lines all at once in April 2007. Construction began in 1959, and in 1964, the world's first line, Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened to the public, then operating at a speed of 210 km/h. A maximum speed of 443 km/h was recorded in a test run in 1996.

Japan is an extremely densely populated country: more than 70% of the land surface is mountainous and thus uninhabitable or unsuitable for road travel and parking. In fact, drivers must prove they have a parking space before they can buy a car. With such a population density, the only practical possibility for transport across the country is rail. The recognition of the interrelationship between land development and the high-speed rail network led, in 1970, to the enactment of a law for the construction of a nationwide Shinkansen railway network. By 1973, the Transport Minister approved construction plans for five additional lines and basic plans for twelve others. Despite the approval, financial considerations intervened; the cost of the five lines (five trillion yen, or roughly 18 billion U.S. dollars at the 1973 exchange rate), combined with the oil shock and the recession of the 1970s and early 1980s resulted in some lines being cancelled and others delayed until 1982.

The hosting of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano provided Japan with a valuable opportunity to showcase its technological skills with the opening of a new rail line extension, the Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano.

The national rail system (JNR), which included Shinkansen was broken up and privatized beginning in 1987 with the aim of more efficient and profitable operations in the passenger rail sector. Incremental improvements to the high-speed rail technology are being undertaken, and the network continues to be expanded. Tilting trains have been introduced to take curves faster; meanwhile, aerodynamic redesigns, stronger engines and lighter materials, air brakes, typhoon and earthquake precautions, and track upgrades are among the developments. As a result of improvements, the travel time from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka (the first route opened) has decreased from 4 hours in 1964 to 2 hours 25 minutes in 2007.

A Japanese consortium led by the Central Japan Railway Company have been researching new high-speed rail systems based on magnetic levitation since the 1970s. Although the trains and guideways are technologically ready and over 100,000 people have ridden them, high costs remains as barriers. Test trains JR-Maglev MLX01 on the Yamanashi Test Line have reached speeds of 581 km/h (crewed), making them the fastest trains in the world. These new maglev trains are intended to be deployed on new Tokyo–Osaka Shinkansen maglev route, called the Chuo Shinkansen, though the project has no political support, due to a spiralling Japanese national debt.

Experimental FASTECH 360 steel-wheeled Shinkansen trains with a top speed of 405 km/h and an operational speed of 360 km/h are currently being tested. Production trains derived from them are scheduled to enter service in 2011.

South Korea

Korea Train Express Routes
South Korea's KTX II, based on its self-developed HSR-350x (also known as Korean G7), reaches maximum speed of 352.4 km/h.

South Korean KTX high-speed rail, which runs on a dedicated line, became operational in April 2004, and was the third nation outside Western Europe to have high speed intercity service, after Japan and the US. (China still didn't have service between major cities) The maximum speed of the KTX, which derives its technology directly from France's Alstom TGV, is 300 km/h. A journey from Seoul to Daejeon that previously took around 90 to 120 minutes now takes only 49, and the time from Daejeon to Daegu (Dongdaegu St.) has been similarly reduced. Passengers can save up to 2 hours on journeys from Seoul to Busan. Since service began, there have been many complaints about the trainsets, citing general discomfort, together with seating that faces opposite the direction of travel. However, rail demand rose 25% in the second three months of service (April–June 2004). Rail revenue in general increased more than 91% from the previous year with 33% more seats offered. Recent observations indicate a growth trend and increasing public acceptance of the service. Daily ridership is now in the range of 85,000 passengers. Diversions from other modes show wide variability, according to customer surveys. KTX enticed 56% from existing rail services, 17% from air, 15% from express buses, and 12% from highways.

With the development of the HSR-350x, South Korean media argue that Korea came to be the fourth nation to develop high-speed rail independently, and the seventh nation to acquire the technology. However, the statistics should vary according to the multiple definitions of a high speed rail. The "High Speed Rail 350x" went under development by South Korean engineers several years before the French technology-transfer program. [4] The train is a product of nearly 10 years of research and development by the Korean company Rotem and the National Rail Technology Institute of Korea. Called the "Korean G-7" (a direct reference to Korea's ambitions of joining the technological prowess of G-7 nations) this technology is currently in its test-run phase and is scheduled for initial passenger operation through the Seoul-to-Gwangju sector by 2007. The proposed train would run faster than the TGV, at 350 km/h as opposed to 300 km/h.[18] The Korean G-7 incorporates several technologies the French TGV doesn't, including an aluminum body, digital traffic control, and a pressure compensation system. When operational the Korean G-7 will also allow passengers to rotate their seats, giving them the choice of a forward facing or a rear facing seat, in response to the many complaints about the fixed one-directional seating arrangements on the KTX.

In July 2006, the South Korean government announced their plan to develop an upgraded version of the G-7 called HEMU(Highspeed Electric Multiple Unit-400㎞/h eXperiment) train system by 2011.

Rotem, a member of the Hyundai group, also manufactures magnetic levitation trains.[5] They were first introduced in the 1993 Daejon International Expo.


Taiwan's high speed rail route

The Taiwan High Speed Rail, also known as the THSR, is Taiwan's high-speed rail network, running approximately 335.50 kilometers (208 mi) from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City, which began operations on 5 January 2007. Adopting Japan's Shinkansen technology for the core system, the THSR uses the Taiwan High Speed 700T train, manufactured by a consortium of Japanese companies, most notably Kawasaki Heavy Industries.[19] The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be US$15 billion,[20] and is one of the largest privately funded transport schemes to date. Express trains capable of travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph)[21] travel from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City in roughly 90 minutes as opposed to 4.5 hours by conventional rail,[22] although local service THSR trains take approximately two hours when stopping at all stations en route.

On 3 June 2007, THSR served 5 million cumulative passengers,[23] and on 26 September 2007, the 10 millionth passenger boarded.[24] In the month of September 2007, THSRC carried 1.5 million passengers,[24] growing further to 1.66 million in November and 2 million in December 2007,[25] the latter translating to about 65,000 passengers daily. In the first year of operation, ending 31 December 2007, THSRC's trains were 99.46% on-time, and carried 15.55 million passengers.

Thirteen Taiwan High Speed Rail stations were planned in the western corridor, with eight stations already open in Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, and Zuoying. Five more stations (in Nangang, Miaoli, Changhua, Yunlin, and Kaohsiung) will be built in future years.


Europe's high speed rail route

High-speed rail is emerging in Europe as an increasingly popular and efficient means of transportation. The first high-speed rail lines in Europe, built in the 1980s and 1990s, improved travel times on intra-national corridors. Since then, several countries have built extensive high-speed networks, and there are now several cross-border high-speed rail links. Rail operators frequently run international services, and tracks are continuously being built and upgraded to international standards on the emerging European high-speed rail network. In 2007, a consortium of European rail operators, Railteam, emerged to coordinate and boost cross-border high-speed rail travel. Developing a Trans-European high-speed rail network is a stated goal of the European Union, and most cross-border rail lines receive EU funding. Today only the core countries of Western Europe are 'plugged in' to a cross-border high-speed rail network, with Russia having opened a 250 km/h line on December 26, 2008. This will change rapidly in the coming years as Europe invests heavily in tunnels, bridges and other infrastructure and development projects across the continent.

North America

United States

United States' potential High-Speed rail network

The United States currently has only one high-speed rail line in operation, the Acela Express, which started in 2000, and runs between Washington, D.C. and Boston via New York City. On average, the line is not as fast as other high-speed rail lines.

California has made the most progress towards establishment of a "true" high-speed line; in the 2008 elections voters in the state approved a ten billion dollar bond to fund construction of an initial line running between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The full network is planned to also include San Diego and Sacramento. The system will run as fast as 220 mph (350 km/h) using steel wheel on steel rail technology. Maglev propulsion was previously considered but dropped as an option in 2001. The project is being administered under the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

See also


  1. ^ General definitions of highspeed. November 28, 2006. Retrieved on January 3, 2007.
  2. ^ Papacostas, C.S. (2001). Transportation Engineering & Planning, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-081419-9
  3. ^ Taylor, Colin (2009). "Frequency wins over speed in the commercial stakes". Railway Gazette International 165 (10): 63-70. ISSN 0373-5346.  
  4. ^ a b international train, partially run in country
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ Railway Gazette International: Wuhan – Guangzhou line opens at 380 km/h
  9. ^ The Line. HSL-Zuid. Retrieved on 2009-07-15.
  10. ^ Speeds. HSL-Zuid. Retrieved on 2009-07-15.
  11. ^ (Dutch) Jaaroverzicht 2006. HSL-Zuid. Retrieved on 2009-07-15.
  12. ^ Poprvé vyjel supervlak Sapsan. Uhání 250 km/h i v minus padesáti stupních
  13. ^ Russian high speed train enters service
  14. ^ (German) Eidgenössisches Departement des Inneren: Lötschberg-Basistunnel bereit für Fahrten bis 250 km/h 2008-12-30
  15. ^ (German) Der Bund: Schweizer Rekord im Lötschberg 2006-12-20, Page 26
  16. ^ Shukor, Steven (5 November 2007). "High speed rail's jewel in the crown". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-27.  
  17. ^ International Railway Journal - Rail And Rapid Transit Industry News Worldwide
  18. ^ Trains -
  19. ^ Kawasaki Heavy Industries (2004-01-30). "New High Speed 700T for Taiwan Unveiled at Rollout Ceremony". Press release. Retrieved 2006-04-21.  
  20. ^ "Plan Overview". Taiwan High Speed Rail. Retrieved 2006-05-19.  
  21. ^ Taiwan High Speed Rail Link - Mott MacDonald Project Page
  22. ^ "Transportation". A Brief Introduction to Taiwan. ROC Government Information Office. Retrieved 2006-05-19.  
  23. ^ "THSRC sees 5 millionth passenger". The China Post. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2007-07-13.  
  24. ^ a b Taipei Times - archives
  25. ^ Taipei Times - archives

External links

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