fastest trains europe asia
Xingjian Tai / Contributor via Getty Images

Fast and Furious: 29+ High-Speed Trains from Around the World

Universal

| LAST UPDATE 11/08/2021

By Eliza Gray

From the Japanese countryside to the Channel Tunnel, these high-speed trains are getting commuters from Point A to Point B in record times. Here's a look at some of the beloved models that are pushing the bounds of physics.

30. Acela: 150 mph

Looking to zip across Northeastern America at the drop of a hat? Well, look no further. Meet Acela, AmTrak's flagship high-speed train services between major cities like New York City, Washington, and Boston.

fastest trains asia europe 
fastest trains asia europe
The Washington Post / Contributor via Getty Images

This futuristic transportation line offered Americans a glimpse into what's possible in the world of commuting. Since first starting operations in 2000, the Acela train has continued to impress Americans with its 450-plus mile route and onboard amenities, including a café, first-class options, and frequent service.

29. ETR 675: 155 mph

Speeding along at 155 miles per hour, the ETR 675 is one of Italy's prized and reliable high-speed trains. It was manufactured by Alstom, a French company dedicated to train craftsmanship that pushes the limits of physics. It first joined Italy's train fleet back in 2017 under the trade name Italo EVO.

fastest trains france asia
fastest trains france asia
Instagram via @giuseppefaetr485

This European high-speed train model was such a success that the number of them in Italy's national train service, known as Italo-Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, reached nearly two dozen since first debuting. And who can blame them? At 250 mph and a capacity of nearly 500 people, it's a perfect commuting solution for the country.

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28. Sapsan: 155 mph

For regular Russian commuters or tourists alike, the Sapsan is a dream come true. Thanks to this bullet train, Moscow and St. Petersburg are connected on a reliable service line, and it takes just 3.5 hours to get from point A to point B. In contrast, this journey takes the average driver nearly 7 hours to complete.

world's fast trains asia 
world's fast trains asia
Sergei Fadeichev / Contributor via Getty Images

With stats like that, it's no surprise that the electric express train was named after the Peregrine Falcon, a predator bird known for its prolific maneuvering skills. With the capacity to set up to 1200 passengers, Russian Railways has been enjoying the benefits of this sleek ride since it first appeared in 2009.

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27. Afrosiyob: 160 mph

Similar to the amazing wonders of the Sapsan, Uzbekistan Railways debuted the Afrosiyob back in 2011, forever changing the way travelers got around the country. The high-speed line connected the country's two largest cities, Tashkent and Samarkand, with jaw-dropping levels of efficiency.

high speed trains asia 
high speed trains asia
VW Pics / Contributor via Getty Images

Just like Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Uzbekistanian service line opened the possibility of rapid domestic travel without the fuss of an airport. For example, Tashkent and Bukhara, two cities that stand 370-plus miles apart, are now connected by a 3.5-hour ride on the Afrosiyob.

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26. E2 Series Shinkansen: 170 mph

East Japan Railway Company has made a name for itself for world-class train service and technological quality. And a prime example of this craftsmanship can be found in the E2 Series Shinkansen. This high-speed line joined the fleet in 1997 and immediately began operating across the country.

fastest trains asia japan
fastest trains asia japan
Jiangang Wang / Contributor via Getty Images

While withdrawals of the model started in 2013, the train services the Pacific island nation with reliable precision and flexibility. Ranging from 8 to 10 cars, the E2 Series Shinkansen has the potential to seat upwards of 750 passengers, serving as an excellent alternative to congested highways and city streets.

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25. N700S Series Shinkansen: 177 mph

While the E2 Series may have gotten the ball rolling, the N700S Series took Shinkansen design to a whole new level. This advanced model featured a world-renowned ability known as titling capability, which meant the train could take turns at faster speeds without passengers experiencing centrifugal force.

fastest train manufacturer Shinkansen 

fastest train manufacturer Shinkansen
Wikimedia Commons via Sfm

What that means is that rather than luggage and standing passengers tumbling to the side during turns, everything remains comfortably in its place. This, coupled with the ability to rocket across the Japanese countryside at 177 miles per hour, makes the N700S one seriously impressive train design.

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24. ETR 500: 186 mph

While high-speed train design has come leaps and bounds over the years, a classic is a classic, and there's no denying that. And while the ETR 500 may not be the fastest train in the fleet, it will forever be known in Italian history as the country's first high-speed train, according to Railway Technology.

fastest train manufacturer italy
fastest train manufacturer italy
ullstein bild / Contributor via Getty Images

The design has undergone multiple modifications over the years to keep up with ever-changing standards. However, the base design has stayed tried and true. The photo above is one of the models from the second generation, which began service in the early 2000s and offered bi-current and tri-current modifications.

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23. KTX-I: 190 mph

The KTX-I, also known as the TGV-K or Korail Class 100000, is South Korea's response to France's TGV Réseau. In fact, this model was built as a joint effort between the two countries in what is known as a technology transfer agreement. In total, 46 trains were built bi-nationally over the six-year collaboration.

korea fastest train manufacturer 
korea fastest train manufacturer
Wikimedia Commons via Jpatokal

And what was left was a high-speed rail service that operated across South Korea under the Korean Railroad Corporation. While there were some service hiccups in the early years, the overall reliability has improved dramatically, allowing passengers to enjoy the perks of traveling at 190 mph.

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22. KTX-Sancheon: 190 mph

KTX-I was seen as such an overwhelming success in South Korea that it fueled a new model. While at first known as KTX-II, the high-speed train eventually adopted its more permanent name: the KTX-Sancheon. It marked not only the second passenger rapid train but also the first of its kind to be designed in South Korea.

fastest train south korea
fastest train south korea
Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA-EFE via Shutterstock

The model became a pride of the Asian nation, as it marked a turn to total control over the design and building process, rather than the KTX-I, which was built to resemble the French TGV Réseau model as much as possible. And they clearly did a good job! This newer build can also reach a max speed of 190 mph.

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21. TGV Atlantique: 199 mph

Speaking of France and their high-speed train models, let's take a look at the TGV Atlantique, a second-generation train used by the French National Railway Company. The model has been a longtime favorite of the nation, which started utilizing its 199 mph abilities back in 1989.

fastest train manufacturer france
fastest train manufacturer france
Francois DUCASSE / Contributor via Getty Images

Of course, the design hasn't stayed the same for the past 30-plus years. Modifications including enlarged wheels and improved aerodynamics are just some of the changes made to keep up with ever-changing standards. In fact, back in 1990, this unique model held a world record in speed! But there are faster trains to come...

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20. Eurostar e320 Siemens Velaro: 199 mph

The British Rail Class 374, also known as the Eurostar e320 had no easy feat ahead of itself for service. This wasn't your average high-speed train darting across the countryside. No, this model needed to be able to withstand the pressures of traversing the Channel Tunnel, which connects Britain to continental Europe.

fastest train Eurostar europe
fastest train Eurostar europe
Wikimedia Commons via ChilternSam

And who else was better suited for the job than the industry experts at Siemens? The German company stepped up and delivered a model that was able to reach 199 mph, connecting London to Paris in less than 2.5 hours - all while managing to traverse a 31.35 mile-long underwater tunnel.

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19. ICE 3 Class 403: 200 mph

While Siemens made a name for themselves as reliable exporters of high-speed trains, they occasionally provided trains for their home country of Germany as well. And the ICE 3 fleet of trains is a perfect example of that. The collection of trains included the 403, 406, and 407.

siemens fastest trains germany
siemens fastest trains germany
Daniel Reinhardt/EPA via Shutterstock

The 403 came into service back in 1999 under the operation of Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company. This model, in particular, brought some smart design changes to the game - all in the name of a lighter overall build. The 403 specifically distributed the motor weight throughout the whole train, diminishing drag.

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18. ICE 3 Class 407: 200 mph

The ICE trains were performing so well that Deutsche Bahn knew they needed to get more models in service. So, in November of 2008, the German railway company coughed up nearly $600 million for 15 407s, which made their debut in the years following. But what about their speed?

407 siemens fastest trains
407 siemens fastest trains
Yuri Zhuck / Contributor via Getty Images

Well, while the 407 didn't see an improvement in miles per hour compared to the 403, it did have undeniable improvements. For starters, the newer model worked on fire safety measures and crash prevention - all while producing a more energy-efficient overall train.

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17. TGV Réseau: 200 mph

Between the years 1992 and 1996, Alstom was busy at work manufacturing what would go on to be one of France's most stable high-speed trains. The TGV Réseau, also known as the TGV-R, was an adaptation of the Atlantique and has been in service for nearly three decades.

Alstom world's fastest trains
Alstom world's fastest trains
Wikimedia Commons via Falk2

Today, there's a reported 90 trains of this kind shooting across the French countryside. They come in a standard build of 10 cars, which include 8 passenger cars and 2 power cars, culminating in a maximum capacity of 361 people onboard. Keep scrolling for more high-speed trains from around the world...

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16. E6 Series Shinkansen: 200 mph

For over eight years, the E6 Series Shinkansen has been servicing communities between Tokyo and Akita with reliable and fast commuter travel. This model travels along the Tōhoku Shinkansen and Akita Shinkansen lines in Japan, which see high traffic from workers and tourists alike.

siemens fastest trains Shinkansen 
siemens fastest trains Shinkansen
Wikimedia Commons via Jerôme Laborde

Traveling at 200 miles per hour, the E6 Series can fit a max capacity of over 300 passengers with its seven cars per train set. The model was seen as a big success for Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, who joined forces to manufacture the train.

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15. H5 Series Shinkansen: 200 mph

And the success of the E6 Series just brought more work for Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The two multinational corporations got to work on creating another high-speed model fit for the mixed Japanese terrain. And in the end, they designed and crafted the H5 Series.

siemens fastest trains japan
siemens fastest trains japan
Tomohiro Ohsumi / Stringer via Getty Images

But colors weren't the only switch made between the two models. The new and improved train, which was based on its predecessor, the E5, opted for a 10-car build with a max capacity of 731 passengers. The model maintained its wicked speeds thanks to material choices like aluminum alloy, which can be found in Olympians' bicycles.

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14. AVE Class 100: 210 mph

The AVE Class 100, also known as the Renfe Class 100, was the first high-speed train to run in Spain. The line was put in place back in 1992 and has been running ever since. And while the models may be from the masterminds at Siemens Mobility rather than a Spanish builder, the trains fuel national pride nonetheless.

AVE world's fastest trains 
AVE world's fastest trains
Wikimedia Commons via Flickr

The success of the line would go on to fuel many more high-speed train lines in the European country, servicing all corners of the nation - including Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. At its peak performance, the AVE Class 100 could reach a max speed of 210 miles per hour.

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13. AVE Class 102: 217 mph

Once Spain got a taste of the high-speed train life, they knew they needed more. And so, in 2005, the AVE Class 102 was introduced. But unlike its predecessor, the 102 was built by manufacturers Talgo and Bombardier. This model also topped the 100's stats with a max speed of 217 mph.

high speed trains europe
high speed trains europe
Wikimedia Commons via Savh

This newer model also adapted a modification popular with many other train manufacturers: the long-beaked nose. This rapid train was first brought to Spain for the ever-popular Madrid-Barcelona line, as it allowed for a high seating capacity without losing out on speed.

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12. AVE Class 103: 217 mph

Just one year later, after bringing in the 102, the Alta Velocidad Española (A.K.A. Renfe) added to their fleet with another train - this time returning to their roots with a Siemens build. The German company won the contract to provide 32 new trains for the high-demand Madrid-Barcelona line.

high speed trains germany
high speed trains germany
Wikimedia Commons via Falk2

And they pulled out all the stops! They modified a version of the ICE 3, which was already in use in Germany. This new addition to the Spanish fleet had the power to reach a max speed of 217 miles per hour, proving to be a commuter favorite as soon as service started.

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11. CRH2C: 220 mph

The world's high-speed trains have been built in countries all over the world. From Italy to Uzbekistan and countless countries in between, each nation has come up with a transportation solution to suit their needs. But that doesn't mean they don't take inspiration from other countries' models on the odd occasion.

japan high speed trains 
japan high speed trains
Wikimedia Commons via DF4D-0070

And the CRH2 is a perfect example of just that. This prized jewel of China's Ministry of Railway was based on Japan's E2-1000 Series Shinkansen. The Chinese government purchased the plans for the 220 mph line from the Japanese manufacturer, marking the second Shinkansen model to ever be exported.

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10. CR400AF: 220 mph

This high-speed train can be found darting across the Chinese countryside at record speeds. The CR400AF has been a staple in the China Railway High-Speed fleet since debuting back in 2016. And it is a favorite amongst commuters for a number of reasons.

china railway fastest trains 
china railway fastest trains
Wikimedia Commons via N509FZ

From widespread service to areas like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen, and Hong Kong, to reliable service, this transportation bolt of lightning is known by many as the fast conventional high-speed train servicing regularly. Keep scrolling for more of these incredible beasts...

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9. AGV 575: 223 mph

Ready for another Alstom bullet on wheels? The AGV is a multi-unit, standard gauge train that was built by the French rolling stock corporation for the Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori. The Italian railroad company was reported to be the first and only one to purchase the train design.

high speed bullet trains 
high speed bullet trains
Wikimedia Commons via Hoff1980

And with statistics like these, we can't see why more railroad services haven't added this train to the fleet. The AGV 575 has been reported to fly along at speeds over 220 mph and higher. Plus, in Alstom's eyes, this model has benefits unlike any train on the market, including increased seating and energy efficiency.

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8. Frecciarossa 1000: 250 mph

The Frecciarossa 1000 (A.K.A. the ETR 1000) is another high-speed train currently in service on Italian railroad tracks. This specific model is being operated by the Italian state railway operator known as Trenitalia. It was built by a joint collaboration between AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier Transportation.

high speed trains Frecciarossa 
high speed trains Frecciarossa
Alessandro Rota / Contributor via Getty Images

The train's construction period lasted between 2013 and 2017, where engineers perfected the design and got the Frecciarossa to a place where it could fire along the tracks at 250 miles per hour. As it stands today, there are 50 of these trains currently servicing the Italian countryside.

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7. Fuxing Hao CR400AF: 260 mph

Recognize the name? That's because an earlier model of this train also made the list of incredible high-speed trains from around the world. The Fuxing Hao CR400AF came back with a sleeker model which managed to climb from a max speed of 220 mph to 260 mph!

china fastest trains asia china fastest trains asia
Xinhua News Agency / Contributor via Getty Images

This new and improved unit has been known to service the same lines as its predecessor, including high-traffic commuter routes between Beijing and Shanghai. The operators remained the same as well, with China Railway Corporation and Kereta Cepat Indonesia - China overseeing the service.

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6. HEMU-430X: 262 mph

The HEMU-430X sounds just as high-tech as the name. Also known as the High-Speed Electric Multiple Unit 430 km/h expertimental, this South Korean high-speed train has been wowing engineers and passengers since first completing test runs back in 2013.

high speed trains asia
high speed trains asia
Instagram via @abh_locomotive7380

It was that very test run that landed South Korea a spot as the fourth country (after France, Japan, and China) to develop a high-speed train that was able to travel faster than 420 kilometers per hour. Despite the huge accomplishment, it's reported that there is only one of these trains in the whole country!

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5. Shanghai Maglev: 268 mph

Hold on tight, because we've officially made it to the top five trains in the game: coming in at number five is the Shanghai Maglev, also known as the Shanghai Transrapid. This magnetic levitation train darts across the Chinese metropolis and, according to reports, is the oldest Maglex model still in service.

high speed trains china
high speed trains china
Loic Lagarde / Contributor via Getty Images

And it doesn't look like it's planning on slowing down anytime soon. The Maglev has been known to reach up to 268 miles per hour - all while boasting a passenger capacity of over 550 people. However, despite its impressive statistics, the overseeing company has struggled with profit losses over the years.

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4. CRH3C: 284 mph

Number four on our list can also be found in China. The CRH3 (Hexie) is a high-speed train based on Siemens's Velaro model. The final product -which was built via a collaboration between Siemens, Tangshan Railway Vehicle, and Changchun Railway Vehicles - began running back in 2008.

Siemens's high speed trains 
Siemens's high speed trains
Xingjian Tai / Contributor via Getty Images

But beyond its tie to the Velaro, the CRH3C also shares similarities with the Sapsan. Like its Russian counterpart, this model runs 11.8 inches wider than most trains, allowing for even more seating options. Capacity ranges from 551 to 1000-plus depending on the train's specifications.

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3. CRH380A Hexie: 302 mph

Developed by CSR Corporation Limited, the CRH380A is the source of immense national pride in China. The train, which began its service back in 2010, was seen as a step forward for the CHR2-380 program, which saw the replacement of import parts swapped for Chinese-made elements.

fastest bullet trains asia
fastest bullet trains asia
Peter Trebitsch/EPA via Shutterstock

And it clearly paid off. The successful modifications saw the CRH380A become the top-performing high-speed train in all of China. The 16-car set was recorded reaching a maximum speed of 302 miles per hour! This train can be found servicing lines included Beijing to Shanghai, Shanghai to Hangzhou, and many others.

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2. TGV POS: 357 mph

Second place on our ranked list of high-speed trains from around the world takes us to France for one last time. Meet the TGV POS, a high-performance train built by Alstom and operated by France's national rail company, the SNCF. And Alstom pulled some interesting moves with this design.

high speed trains Alstom 
high speed trains Alstom
Wikimedia Commons via Maxiiie

Rather than start a design plan from zero, the world-renowned rolling stock manufacturer augmented a pre-existing design. The train is composed of eight Réseau cars, paired with new power cars, which together produce a top speed of 357 miles per hour.

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1. L0 Series Maglev: 374 mph

Our list has taken us to Uzbekistan, Italy, and many other places in between. But first place belongs to the technologically advanced nation of Japan: the L0 Series Maglev is known around the world as the high-speed maglev train. And we can definitely see why.

world's fastest trains japanworld's fastest trains japan
Kimimasa Mayama/EPA/Shutterstock

From its sleek beak-nosed design to its maglev rail track design, this train has changed the game of domestic travel for generations to come. Since construction in 2011, a reported 14 trains have been built. And while tests are ongoing, this unit can reach speeds of up to 374 miles per hour.

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