High-speed rail is the most efficient alternative to aviation for journeys up to 1,120km. Since the 1980s, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in high-speed, high-capacity railways across Europe and Asia, led by Japan’s Shinkansen system and France’s TGV.
Over the past decade, China has risen to become the number one country in high-speed rail development. Beijing has built a new railway network of 38,000 km to all parts of the country.
Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the UK are expanding their European rail network, and others will continue to expand into the 2030s. In 2018, Africa operated its first high-speed rail line Al -Boraq in Morocco. Egypt plans to open the first line before the end of the 2020s.
South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan also opened many highways. India, Thailand, Russia and the United States are among a group of countries committed to building new railway lines, where trains will travel between major cities at more than 250 km/h.
Shanghai maglev train
Shuttle train from Shanghai. (Photo: CNN)
Shuttle train from Shanghai. It is the world’s fastest passenger train, and the only line in the world that uses maglev technology instead of wheels running on steel rails. The route connects Shanghai Pudong Airport with Longyang Station in the city center, with a top speed of 460 km/h, crossing the 30 km journey in 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
Based on German technology, the carriages move along the elevated railway with powerful magnets that provide a smooth feeling for passengers. Using experience after more than 10 years of operation, China is now developing its own maglev train technology with a speed of up to 600 km/h and has set an ambition to develop a maglev railway network across the country, including Hangzhou – Shanghai route.
CR400 Renaissance Train
Train CR400 Renaissance. (Photo: CNN)
In addition to the world’s longest high-speed rail network, China now has the fastest scheduled trains on the planet. The CR400 Renaissance train operates commercially at a maximum speed of 350 km/h but can go up to 420 km/h in testing. The Renaissance train developed from the old generation of high-speed trains based on technology imported from Europe and Japan.
The train has a length of 16 cars, a maximum capacity of 1,200 passengers, integrated with many features such as on-site entertainment devices, smart glass door screens, wireless charging, “smart cabins”, even equipped trains. Designed for inclement weather and automatic operation.
The fastest CR400s are being rolled out on the main routes Beijing – Shanghai – Hongkong and Beijing – Harbin.
ICE (Inner City Express Train). (Photo: CNN)
ICE (Inner City Express), is a world-famous German brand, consisting of a group of high-speed trains deployed on many routes.
ICE3, also known as White Worm, is the fastest train with a speed of 330 km/h, operating since 1999. The train was built to operate on the Cologne – Frankfurt highway 180 km long. , shortening the travel time between the two cities from 2.5 hours to 62 minutes in 2002.
The normal operating speed of the train is 300 km / h, but the ICE3 can accelerate to 330 km / h when delayed. Maximum speed reached 228 km / h when tested. The key to operating ICE3 is 16 electric motors installed in the entire 8-car train, with a capacity of 11,000 horsepower.
The ICE3 fleet operates throughout Germany and on several international routes, connecting major German cities with Paris, Amsterdam and Bussels. This design is also used as the basis for the development of Siemens’ Velaro high-speed train line, which is sold to Spain, Russia, Turkey, China and Eurostar to build next-generation international shipping lines. Monday.
French train TGV. (Photo: CNN)
France has long been famous for its high-speed trains up to 574.8 km/h, set up in 2007. At 15m/s, nearly double the normal scheduled operating speed, road service France’s TGV railway is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of high-speed rail.
The French railway industry has gradually surpassed the speed limit of normal trains since World War II, breaking records in 1955 of 331 km/h, 380 km/h in 1981, and 515.3 km/h in 1990. .
Today, high-speed trains connect Paris with Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Strasbourg, Lille, Brussels and London, with trains up to 320 km/h. Over the past 40 years, the railway network has expanded, and many new generations of high-speed trains have been born.
The orange TGV trains representing the 1980s gave way to advanced high-capacity Duplex trains, operating in neighboring countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. TGV-M, a generation of double-decker trains, is being tested and is expected to operate from 2024.
France also successfully exports high-speed rail technology around the world. TGV technology has been sold to Spain, Korea, Taiwan, Morocco, Italy and the US for the past 30 years.
Shinkansen train. (Photo: CNN)
Japan introduced the new concept of high-speed rail to the world in 1964 and continues to be a global leader, surpassing speed, capacity and safety limits on Shinkansen lines.
Most Shinkansen trains are operating at a maximum speed of 300 km/h, with East Japan Railway’s E5 “bullet train” running at 320 km/h on the Tohoku Shinkansen line from northern Tokyo to Shin-Aomori .
Each train has 731 seats and 32 electric induction motors, totaling 12,900 horsepower. The train is made of lightweight aluminum alloy, using an active suspension system that allows the train to overcome bends at higher speeds.
The long bow is designed to reduce the noise generated when the train passes through the tunnel at high speed. The vessel was introduced in 2011 and as of 2016 has been deployed on routes north of Aomori, connecting to Honshu, Japan’s main island, by the 54km Seikan tunnel under the Tsugaru Strait.
Ship Al-Boraq. (Photo: CNN)
The first and only high-speed rail line in Africa to date began operation in November 2018, connecting the port city of Tangier with Casablanca in Morocco.
The train was named Al-Boraq, after the Prophet Muhammad’s mount with the human face, horse body and wings. The route is part of phase one of Morocco’s plan to develop a 1,500-kilometer high-speed rail network.
The French-built TGV Euroduplex carriages operate at speeds of up to 320 km/h on the 186 km route between Tangier and Kenitra. The $2 billion plan also upgrades the existing 137-kilometer rail line between Rabat and Casablanca to operate higher-speed trains, reducing journey times from 4 hours 45 minutes to two hours 10 minutes.
Once the new rail line to Casablanca is completed, travel time will be reduced to 90 minutes. Al-Boraq also holds the record for railway speed in Africa. During testing in 2017 before commercial operation, one of 12 trains built by Alstom reached speeds of nearly 357 km/h on the new line, twice the speed of all the highest-speed trains operating around the world. African continent.
Ship S-103. (Photo: CNN)
Spain joined the countries with high-speed trains in 1992, using imported French TGV technology. Since then, they have developed their own bullet train system and built the longest dedicated railway network in Europe, radiating from Madrid to Seville, Malaga, Valencia, Galicia and Barcelona.
AVE, short for Spanish High Speed, which also means bird in Spanish, operates commercially at a top speed of 310 km/h. The pride of Spain is the trains S-102 Tago, S-103 Velaro, a generation similar to the German ICE3 train but more powerful.
S-103 reaches a maximum speed of 350 km / h, a capacity of 404 seats, connecting the two largest cities in Spain with the Talgo S-102 high-speed train system. In July 2006, an S-103 train set a speed record of 404 km/h, setting a world record at that time with a commercial passenger train.
For decades, Spanish railways have been known to be late and slow, but over the past 30 years, AVE has changed, expanding the rail system to every corner of the country. The company is facing a challenge from two new rivals backed by national railways France and Italy. Ouigo Espana offers a low-cost high-speed train option, using the French TGV train, while Iryo deploys the Italian Red Arrow train aimed at premium service.
Korea’s high-speed rail
Korea’s high-speed rail system. (Photo: CNN)
Since 2004, South Korea has expanded its high-speed rail network rapidly, bypassing old routes in rough terrain that slows travel time and is uncompetitive.
Starting with the Seoul – Busan line in 2004, KTX trains can operate at speeds of up to 330 km/h despite the normal limit of 305 km/h. The first generation KTX-I train, based on French TGV technology, has reduced the travel time of the Seoul – Busan route from more than 4 hours to two hours and 15 minutes.
Korea, Japan, France and China, four countries around the world, have developed railway trains capable of running at a speed of more than 420 km/h. The new generation train model HEMU-430X achieved a speed of 521.4 km / h in 2013, breaking the old Korean record of 352.4 km / h set by the second generation KTX HSR-350x train.
The latest models use self-developed Korean technology, have pressure-sealed compartments, triple glazing to reduce noise and eliminate discomfort when entering the tunnel.
With up to two departures per hour on major routes and trains of up to 20 cars, KTX is a high-speed public transport system that transports hundreds of millions of passengers annually. KTX trains also operate routes linking Seoul with Gwangju, Mokpo and Yeosu in the south of the country, and connecting Gangneung in the northeast, which hosted the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Red Arrow Ship
Red Arrow Ship. (Photo: CNN)
The Italian national railway company’s Red Arrow train began operating in 2017 when a rival launched a new product. The train reaches a maximum speed of 400 km / h, a capacity of 10,000 horsepower, a maximum passenger speed of 360 km / h.
The train is 200 m long, with a capacity of 457 seats in 4 ticket classes, from standard to premium. The highest class has only 10 reclining seats and on-site dining. Red Arrows services operate throughout Italy’s T-shaped high-speed rail network, connecting Turin, Milan and Venice in the north with Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples.
High-speed rail system in Saudi Arabia
High-speed rail system in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: CNN)
Hot weather and sandstorms are not ideal operating environments for high-speed trains, but Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway Company is still operating, connecting Mecca and Medina at 300 km/h.
The company uses 35 Spanish-built Talgo trains, which are adapted to the terrain and desert climates up to 50 degrees Celsius. The train takes just two hours to transport passengers over a distance of 459 kilometers. .
Each train has 13 carriages, can accommodate 417 passengers, and has a capacity of 60 million passengers per year. Since opening in 2018, the railway has become a popular service for traveling between Medina and Mecca, a route that takes 10 hours by car.