When it comes to transportation, everyone is looking for speed. The fastest cars, planes, and trains are always at the top of the list when it comes to efficient modes of travel, and one country, in particular, excels especially in the area of rail travel. China’s trains leave others – quite literally – in their dust, with speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour more than the fastest of any other country. Getting from point A to point B within China’s borders has never been easier – or faster – than it is today, as they’re home to the fastest trains in the world.
The Shanghai Maglev Is The World’s Fastest Train
Shanghai, in general, is highly evolved in terms of both its technology and its transportation. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Shanghai Maglev doesn’t even operate as most average trains do; rather, it uses magnetic levitation – called maglev – to keep the train cars attached to the rails at high speeds. While this might sound like something out of a Harry Potter novel, in China, it’s very much a reality.
This train made its debut back in 2021, and it seems that China has no plans of slowing down. The current Shanghai Maglev train runs at a top speed of 286 miles per hour, although the average speed during any trip is only about 245 miles per hour. Due to these high speeds and the fact that the train literally glides above the rails, a 30-kilometer – which is almost 20 miles – journey can be done in just under eight minutes. The technology itself was created through German engineering, and allows for a smoother trip, eliminating some of the bumps and jostling that most trains have due to its zero-friction glide.
China Is Also Home To The World’s Second-Fastest Train
Not surprisingly, China is also home to the world’s second-fastest train, the CR400 ‘Fuxing.’ This and the Shanghai Maglev have given China a reputation for having the fastest public transportation system in the world, which has yet to be outranked by any. While the Fuxing does not go a whopping 286 miles per hour, it does reach a top speed of 217 miles per hour, which will still throttle passengers from point A to point B in literally minutes.
During various tests, according to CNN, the Fuxing train has reached speeds of 260 miles per hour, but these are not average travel speeds that would be sustained with passengers. This train was designed with technology incorporated from both China and Europe, coming together to create one of the most impressive rail systems in the world.
- Fun Fact: The CR400 ‘Fuxing’ includes 16 cars, has a maximum capacity of 1,200 passengers, and also includes top-of-the-line entertainment features such as smart glass displays, wireless device-charging capabilities, and ‘smart cabins.’
These incredible trains can be found along the Beijing-Shanghai-Hong Kong and Beijing-Harbin lines.
While the max operating speeds of these trains are quite impressive, they’re often slowed down to a more manageable speed in order to control costs and energy usage. Despite this, China is still home to the world’s fastest public transportation, even with its trains traveling at half their potential speed.
What’s It Like To Ride On A Maglev Train?
Some people compare the experience of being on a Maglev train to that of a plane taking off. When the train itself lifts slightly off the tracks, there is a smooth – but somewhat noticeable – shift in the weight of the train. This is how passengers know that the train is really picking up speed, and it’s a unique experience, to say the least. While the train is moving, the experience is nothing but smooth, steady, and completely unlike the typical train ride that one might be used to with a traditional wheel-on-track system.
The future of high-speed trains is one that many countries have already invested in, specifically China, Japan, France, and Germany. While these trains aren’t likely to replace every railroad around the world, they are far more efficient when it comes to getting a person to where they need to go, especially on a schedule. The lack of turbulence once on the train is also a feature that many people thoroughly enjoy since the ride itself is far smoother than that of traditional rails. It’s hard to say whether this system will be seen in more countries in the future due to the costs of the investment, but for those visiting China, it’s definitely a worthy experience.
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