Regarding tourism, planes are frequently heralded as the quickest and most efficient mode of transportation — and in many cases, they are. However, on some routes, the time taken to travel to the airport (which is frequently located outside of town), go through security, and grab a test flight snack can add a few hours. High-speed trains shine in this situation. Train stations are typically located in or near the city center, and you do not need to arrive two hours before departure to clear check-in and security lines.
Continue reading for a list of the world’s fastest trains, ranked by speed.
1. L0 Series Maglev: 374 mph
This Japanese train, which is currently being developed and tested by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), holds the land speed record for rail vehicles, clocking in at 374 mph. While booking a ticket to Tokyo may be tempting, remember that this train is still being developed for regular commercial use.
2. TGV POS: 357 mph
France has had high-speed rail travel dialed in for many years. And in 2007, the TGV POS set the world speed record for rail vehicles at an impressive 357 mph before being surpassed by Japan’s L0 Series in 2015.
3. CRH380A Hexie: 302 mph
While China’s CRH380A Hexie can cruise at a maximum speed of 236 mph for commercial operations, it reached a whopping 302 mph during testing. And what’s even more impressive is that the high-speed electric train is just one of four Chinese train series developed to operate on the newly constructed high-speed main lines.
4. Shanghai Maglev: 268 mph
Like Japan’s L0 Series, the Shanghai maglev is a magnetic levitation train that operates out of Shanghai, China. And while it lands solidly at number four on this list, thanks to a top speed of 268 mph, it’s the oldest commercial maglev train still in operation.
5. HEMU-430X: 262 mph
While South Korea’s HEMU-430X was built to operate at a maximum speed of 267 mph, it only reached 262 mph (421.4 km/h) in March 2013. Although it might have fallen short of expectations, the train gave South Korea some bragging rights: It is now the world’s fourth country to develop a train over 261 mph.