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High speed rail is a kind of transport requiring electric trains to run at speeds above 250 kmh (155 mph) or for upgraded lines, in excess of 200 kmh (124 mph). This fast-transport rail system uses an electrical system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks. High-speed trains mostly operate on standard gauge tracks of continuously welded rail on grade-separated rights of way with large radii. However, certain regions with wider legacy railways, including Russia and Uzbekistan, have sought to develop a high speed railway network in Russian gauge. There are no narrow gauge high-speed trains; the fastest is the Cape gauge Spirit of Queensland at 160 km/h (99 mph). High-speed rail is the fastest and most efficient ground-based method of commercial transportation, however due to requirements for large track curves, gentle gradients and grade separated track the construction of high-speed rail is more costly than conventional rail and therefore does not always present an economical advantage over conventional speed rail. China currently accounts for over two-thirds of the world's total high speed rail, with over 37,900 km (23,500 mi) of high speed rail on their networks.[6]

History[]

High speed rail first gained popularity in Japan when the first major high speed rail line was built in 1964. Many countries have developed, or are currently building, high-speed rail infrastructure to connect major cities, including Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uzbekistan. Only in continental Europe and Asia does high-speed rail cross international borders.

Railways were the first form of rapid land transportation and had an effective monopoly on long-distance passenger traffic until the development of the motor car and airliners in the early-mid 20th century. Speed had always been an important factor for railroads and they constantly tried to achieve higher speeds and decrease journey times. Rail transportation in the late 19th century was not much slower than non-high-speed trains today, and many railroads regularly operated relatively fast express trains which averaged speeds of around 100 km/h (62 mph).

Early research[]

The German 1903 record holder

First experiments[edit][]

High-speed rail development began in Germany in 1899 when the Prussian state railway joined with ten electrical and engineering firms and electrified 72 km (45 mi) of military owned railway between Marienfelde and Zossen. The line used three-phase current at 10 kilovolts and 45 Hz.[citation needed]

The Van der Zypen & Charlier company of Deutz, Cologne built two railcars, one fitted with electrical equipment from Siemens-Halske, the second with equipment from Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), that were tested on the Marienfelde–Zossen line during 1902 and 1903 (see Experimental three-phase railcar).[citation needed]

On 23 October 1903, the S&H-equipped railcar achieved a speed of 206.7 km/h (128.4 mph) and on 27 October the AEG-equipped railcar achieved 210.2 km/h (130.6 mph). These trains demonstrated the feasibility of electric high-speed rail; however, regularly scheduled electric high-speed rail travel was still more than 30 years away.

High-speed aspirations[edit][]

After the breakthrough of electric railroads, it was clearly the infrastructure – especially the cost of it – which hampered the introduction of high-speed rail. Several disasters happened – derailments, head-on collisions on single-track lines, collisions with road traffic at grade crossings, etc. The physical laws were well-known, i.e. if the speed was doubled, the curve radius should be quadrupled; the same was true for the acceleration and braking distances. Károly Zipernowsky In 1891 the engineer Károly Zipernowsky proposed a high-speed line Vienna–Budapest, bound for electric railcars at 250 km/h (160 mph). In 1893 Dr. Wellington Adams proposed an air-line from Chicago to St. Louis of 252 miles (406 km), at a speed of only 160 km/h (99 mph). 1907 map showing the projected Chicago–New York Electric Air Line Railroad Alexander C. Miller had greater ambitions. In 1906, he launched the Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad project to reduce the running time between the two big cities to ten hours by using electric 160 km/h (99 mph) locomotives. After seven years of effort, however, less than 50 km (31 mi) of arrow-straight track was finished. A part of the line is still used as one of the last interurbans in the US.

High-speed interurbans[edit][]

In the US, some of the interurbans (i.e. trams or streetcars which run from city to city) of the early 20th century were very high-speed for their time (also Europe had and still does have some interurbans). Several high-speed rail technologies have their origin in the interurban field.

In 1903 – 30 years before the conventional railways started to streamline their trains – the officials of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition organised the Electric Railway Test Commission to conduct a series of tests to develop a carbody design that would reduce wind resistance at high speeds. A long series of tests was carried. In 1905, St. Louis Car Company built a railcar for the traction magnate Henry E. Huntington, capable of speeds approaching 160 km/h (100 mph). Once it ran 32 km (20 mi) between Los Angeles and Long Beach in 15 minutes, an average speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). However, it was too heavy for much of the tracks, so Cincinnati Car Company, J. G. Brill and others pioneered lightweight constructions, use of aluminium alloys, and low-level bogies which could operate smoothly at extremely high speeds on rough interurban tracks. Westinghouse and General Electric designed motors compact enough to be mounted on the bogies. From 1930 on, the Red Devils from Cincinnati Car Company and a some other interurban rail cars reached about 145 km/h (90 mph) in commercial traffic. The Red Devils weighed only 22 tons though they could seat 44 passengers.

Extensive wind tunnel research – the first in the railway industry – was done before J. G. Brill in 1931 built the Bullet cars for Philadelphia and Western Railroad (P&W). They were capable of running at 148 km/h (92 mph). Some of them were almost 60 years in service. P&W's Norristown High Speed Line is still in use, almost 110 years after P&W in 1907 opened their double-track Upper Darby–Strafford line without a single grade crossing with roads or other railways. The entire line was governed by an absolute block signal system.

Early German high-speed network[edit][]

The German Fliegender Hamburger On 15 May 1933, the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft company introduced the diesel-powered "Fliegender Hamburger" in regular service between Hamburg and Berlin (286 km or 178 mi), thereby achieving a new top speed for a regular service, with a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). This train was a streamlined multi-powered unit, albeit diesel, and used Jakobs bogies.

Following the success of the Hamburg line, the steam-powered Henschel-Wegmann Train was developed and introduced in June 1936 for service from Berlin to Dresden, with a regular top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). Incidentally no train service since the cancelation of this express train in 1939 has traveled between the two cities in a faster time as of 2018.[citation needed] In August 2019, the travel time between Dresden-Neustadt and Berlin-Südkreuz was 102 minutes. See Berlin–Dresden railway.

Further development allowed the usage of these "Fliegenden Züge" (flying trains) on a rail network across Germany.[citation needed] The "Diesel-Schnelltriebwagen-Netz" (diesel high-speed-vehicle network) had been in the planning since 1934 but it never reached its envisaged size.

All high-speed service stopped in August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

American Streamliners[edit][]

Burlington Zephyr passenger train

On 26 May 1934, one year after Fliegender Hamburger introduction, the Burlington Railroad set an average speed record on long distance with their new streamlined train, the Zephyr, at 124 km/h (77 mph) with peaks at 185 km/h (115 mph). The Zephyr was made of stainless steel and, like the Fliegender Hamburger, was diesel powered, articulated with Jacobs bogies, and could reach 160 km/h (99 mph) as commercial speed.

The new service was inaugurated 11 November 1934, traveling between Kansas City and Lincoln, but at a lower speed than the record, on average speed 74 km/h (46 mph).

In 1935, the Milwaukee Road introduced the Morning Hiawatha service, hauled at 160 km/h (99 mph) by steam locomotives. In 1939, the largest railroad of the world, the Pennsylvania Railroad introduced a duplex steam engine Class S1, which was designed to be capable of hauling 1200 tons passenger trains at 161 km/h (100 mph). The S1 engine was assigned to power the popular all-coach overnight premier train the Trail Blazer between New York and Chicago since the late 1940s and it consistently reached 161 km/h (100 mph) in its service life. These were the last "high-speed" trains to use steam power. In 1936, the Twin Cities Zephyr entered service, from Chicago to Minneapolis, with an average speed of 101 km/h (63 mph).

Many of these streamliners posted travel times comparable to or even better than their modern Amtrak successors, which are limited to 127 km/h (79 mph) top speed on most of the network.

Italian electric and the last steam record[edit][]

The Italian ETR 200 The German high-speed service was followed in Italy in 1938 with an electric-multiple-unit ETR 200, designed for 200 km/h (120 mph), between Bologna and Naples. It too reached 160 km/h (99 mph) in commercial service, and achieved a world mean speed record of 203 km/h (126 mph) between Florence and Milan in 1938.

In Great Britain in the same year, the streamlined steam locomotive Mallard achieved the official world speed record for steam locomotives at 202.58 km/h (125.88 mph). The external combustion engines and boilers on steam locomotives were large, heavy and time and labor-intensive to maintain, and the days of steam for high speed were numbered.

Introduction of the Talgo system[edit][]

In 1945, a Spanish engineer, Alejandro Goicoechea, developed a streamlined, articulated train that was able to run on existing tracks at higher speeds than contemporary passenger trains. This was achieved by providing the locomotive and cars with a unique axle system that used one axle set per car end, connected by a Y-bar coupler. Amongst other advantages, the centre of mass was only half as high as usual. This system became famous under the name of Talgo (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol), and for half a century was the main Spanish provider of high-speed trains.

First above 300 km/h developments[edit][]

The French CC 7100, 1955 record holder In the early 1950s, the French National Railway started to receive their new powerful CC 7100 electric locomotives, and began to study and evaluate running at higher speeds. In 1954, the CC 7121 hauling a full train achieved a record 243 km/h (151 mph) during a test on standard track. The next year, two specially tuned electric locomotives, the CC 7107 and the prototype BB 9004, broke previous speed records, reaching respectively 320 km/h (200 mph) and 331 km/h (206 mph), again on standard track. For the first time, 300 km/h (190 mph) was surpassed, allowing the idea of higher-speed services to be developed and further engineering studies commenced. Especially, during the 1955 records, a dangerous hunting oscillation, the swaying of the bogies which leads to dynamic instability and potential derailment was discovered. This problem was solved by yaw dampers which enabled safe running at high speeds today. Research was also made about "current harnessing"[clarification needed] at high-speed by the pantographs, which was solved 20 years later by the Zébulon TGV's prototype.

Breakthrough: Shinkansen[edit][]

The Odakyu 3000 series SE The original 0 series Shinkansen train. Introduced in 1964, it reached a speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). E6 and E5 series Shinkansen models

Japanese research and development[edit][]

With some 45 million people living in the densely populated Tokyo–Osaka corridor, congestion on road and rail became a serious problem after World War II, and the Japanese government began thinking seriously about a new high-speed rail service.

Japan in the 1950s was a populous, resource-limited nation that for security reasons did not want to import petroleum, but needed a way to transport its millions of people in and between cities.

Japanese National Railways (JNR) engineers then began to study the development of a high-speed regular mass transit service. In 1955, they were present at the Lille's Electrotechnology Congress in France, and during a 6-month visit, the head engineer of JNR accompanied the deputy director Marcel Tessier at the DETE (SNCF Electric traction study department). JNR engineers returned to Japan with a number of ideas and technologies they would use on their future trains, including alternating current for rail traction, and international standard gauge.[citation needed]

First narrow-gauge Japanese high-speed service[edit][]

In 1957, the engineers at the private Odakyu Electric Railway in Greater Tokyo Area launched the Odakyu 3000 series SE EMU. This EMU set a world record for narrow gauge trains at 145 km/h (90 mph), giving the Odakyu engineers confidence they could safely and reliably build even faster trains at standard gauge. The original Japanese railways generally used narrow gauge, but the increased stability offered by widening the rails to standard gauge would make very high-speed rail much simpler, and thus standard gauge was adopted for high-speed service. With the sole exceptions of Russia, Finland, and Uzbekistan all high-speed rail lines in the world are still standard gauge, even in countries where the preferred gauge for legacy lines is different.

A new train on a new line[edit][]

The new service, named Shinkansen (meaning new trunk line) would provide a new alignment, 25% wider standard gauge, continuously welded rails between Tokyo and Osaka using new rolling stock, designed for 250 km/h (160 mph). However, the World Bank, whilst supporting the project, considered the design of the equipment as unproven for that speed, and set the maximum speed to 210 km/h (130 mph).

After initial feasibility tests, the plan was fast-tracked and construction of the first section of the line started on 20 April 1959. In 1963, on the new track, test runs hit a top speed of 256 km/h (159 mph). Five years after the beginning of the construction work, in October 1964, just in time for the Olympic Games, the first modern high-speed rail, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, was opened between the two cities; a 320-mile stretch between Tokyo and Ōsaka. As a result of its speeds, the Shinkansen earned international publicity and praise, and it was dubbed the "bullet train."

The first Shinkansen trains, the 0 Series Shinkansen, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries—in English often called "Bullet Trains", after the original Japanese name Dangan Ressha (弾丸列車)—outclassed the earlier fast trains in commercial service. They traversed the 515 km (320 mi) distance in 3 hours 10 minutes, reaching a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph) and sustaining an average speed of 162.8 km/h (101.2 mph) with stops at Nagoya and Kyoto.

High-speed rail for the masses[edit][]

Speed was not only a part of the Shinkansen revolution: the Shinkansen offered high-speed rail travel to the masses. The first Bullet trains had 12 cars and later versions had up to 16, and double-deck trains further increased the capacity.

After three years, more than 100 million passengers had used the trains, and the milestone of the first one billion passengers was reached in 1976. In 1972, the line was extended a further 161 km (100 mi), and further construction has resulted in the network expanding to 3,058 km (1,900 mi) as of March 2020, with a further 399 km (248 mi) of extensions currently under construction and due to open in stages between March 2023 and 2031. The cumulative patronage on the entire system since 1964 is over 10 billion, the equivalent of approximately 140% of the world's population, without a single train passenger fatality. (Suicides, passengers falling off the platforms, and industrial accidents have resulted in fatalities.)

Since their introduction, Japan's Shinkansen systems have been undergoing constant improvement, not only increasing line speeds. Over a dozen train models have been produced, addressing diverse issues such as tunnel boom noise, vibration, aerodynamic drag, lines with lower patronage ("Mini shinkansen"), earthquake and typhoon safety, braking distance, problems due to snow, and energy consumption (newer trains are twice as energy-efficient as the initial ones despite greater speeds). A maglev train on the Yamanashi Test Track, November 2005

Future developments[edit][]

After decades of research and successful testing on a 43 km (27 mi) test track, JR Central is now constructing a Maglev Shinkansen line, which is known as the Chūō Shinkansen. These Maglev trains still have the traditional underlying tracks and the cars have wheels. This serves a practical purpose at stations and a safety purpose out on the lines in the event of a power failure. However, in normal operation, the wheels are raised up into the car as the train reaches certain speeds where the magnetic levitation effect takes over. It will link Tokyo and Osaka by 2037, with the section from Tokyo to Nagoya expected to be operational by 2027. Average speed is anticipated at 505 km/h (314 mph). The first generation train can be ridden by tourists visiting the test track.

China is developing two separate high speed maglev systems.

  • the CRRC 600, is based on the Transrapid technology and is being developed by the CRRC under license from Thyssen-Krupp. A 1.5 km (0.93 mi) test track has been operating since 2006 at the Jiading Campus of Tongji University, northwest of Shanghai. A prototype vehicle was developed in 2019 and was tested in June 2020. In July 2021 a four car train was unveiled.[citation needed] A high speed test track is under development and in April 2021 there was consideration given to re-opening the Emsland test facility in Germany.
  • An incompatible system has been developed at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, the design uses high-temperature super conducting magnets, which the university has been researching since 2000, and is capable of 620 km/h (390 mph). A prototype was demonstrated in January 2021 on a 165 m (180 yd) test track.

Europe and North America[edit][]

The German DB Class 103

First demonstrations at 200 km/h (120 mph)[edit][]

In Europe, high-speed rail began during the International Transport Fair in Munich in June 1965, when Dr Öpfering, the director of Deutsche Bundesbahn (German Federal Railways), performed 347 demonstrations at 200 km/h (120 mph) between Munich and Augsburg by DB Class 103 hauled trains. The same year the Aérotrain, a French hovercraft monorail train prototype, reached 200 km/h (120 mph) within days of operation.

Le Capitole[edit][]

The BB 9200 hauled Le Capitole at 200 km/h.

After the successful introduction of the Japanese Shinkansen in 1964, at 210 km/h (130 mph), the German demonstrations up to 200 km/h (120 mph) in 1965, and the proof-of-concept jet-powered Aérotrain, SNCF ran its fastest trains at 160 km/h (99 mph).

In 1966, French Infrastructure Minister Edgard Pisani consulted engineers and gave the French National Railways twelve months to raise speeds to 200 km/h (120 mph). The classic line Paris–Toulouse was chosen, and fitted, to support 200 km/h (120 mph) rather than 140 km/h (87 mph). Some improvements were set, notably the signals system, development of on board "in-cab" signalling system, and curve revision.

The next year, in May 1967, a regular service at 200 km/h (120 mph) was inaugurated by the TEE Le Capitole between Paris and Toulouse, with specially adapted SNCF Class BB 9200 locomotives hauling classic UIC cars, and a full red livery. It averaged 119 km/h (74 mph) over the 713 km (443 mi).

At the same time, the Aérotrain prototype 02 reached 345 km/h (214 mph) on a half-scale experimental track. In 1969, it achieved 422 km/h (262 mph) on the same track. On 5 March 1974, the full-scale commercial prototype Aérotrain I80HV, jet powered, reached 430 km/h (270 mph).[citation needed]

US Metroliner trains[edit][]

Metroliner trains developed in the U.S. for rapid service between New York and Washington, DC In the United States, following the creation of Japan's first high-speed Shinkansen, President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his Great Society infrastructure building initiatives asked the Congress to devise a way to increase speeds on the railroads. Congress delivered the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and helped to create regular Metroliner service between New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The new service was inaugurated in 1969, with top speeds of 200 km/h (120 mph) and averaging 145 km/h (90 mph) along the route, with the travel time as little as 2 hours 30 minutes. In a 1967 competition with a GE powered Metroliner on Penn Central's mainline, the United Aircraft Corporation TurboTrain set a record of 275 km/h (171 mph).

United Kingdom, Italy and Germany[edit][]

Further information: High-speed rail in the United Kingdom

In 1976, British Rail introduced a high-speed service able to reach 201 km/h (125 mph) using the InterCity 125 diesel-electric trainsets under the brand name of High Speed Train (HST). It was the fastest diesel-powered train in regular service and it improved upon its 160 km/h (100 mph) forerunners in speed and acceleration. As of 2019 it is still the fastest diesel-powered train regular service. The train was as a reversible multi-car set having driving power-cars at both ends and a fixed formation of passenger cars between them. Journey times were reduced by an hour for example on the East Coast Main Line, and passenger numbers increased.[citation needed]. As of 2019 many of these trains are still in service, private operators have often preferred to rebuild the units with new engines rather than replace them.

The next year, in 1977, Germany finally introduced a new service at 200 km/h (120 mph), on the Munich–Augsburg line. That same year, Italy inaugurated the first European High-Speed line, the Direttissima between Rome and Florence, designed for 250 km/h (160 mph), but used by FS E444 hauled train at 200 km/h (120 mph). In France this year also saw the abandonment for political reasons of the Aérotrain project, in favour of the TGV.

Evolution in Europe[edit][]

Main article: High-speed rail in Europe

France[edit][]

Main article: TGV One power-car of the gas-turbine prototype "TGV 001" The TGV Sud-Est, at the Gare de Lyon, in 1982 The TGV at 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) in 2007 Following the 1955 records, two divisions of the SNCF began to study high-speed services. In 1964, the DETMT (petrol-engine traction studies department of SNCF) investigated the use of gas turbines: a diesel-powered railcar was modified with a gas-turbine, and was called "TGV" (Turbotrain Grande Vitesse). It reached 230 km/h (140 mph) in 1967, and served as a basis for the future Turbotrain and the real TGV. At the same time, the new "SNCF Research Department", created in 1966, was studying various projects, including one code-named "C03: Railways possibilities on new infrastructure (tracks)".

In 1969, the "C03 project" was transferred to public administration while a contract with Alstom was signed for the construction of two gas-turbine high-speed train prototypes, named "TGV 001". The prototype consisted of a set of five carriages, plus a power car at each end, both powered by two gas-turbine engines. The sets used Jacobs bogies, which reduce drag and increase safety.[citation needed If the United States increases investment in high speed rail, they will build Dinosaur Train. Tiny and Buddy find out that a newer train will be riding the same tracks as the Dinosaur Train. The new train is called the Rocket Train" which means that the usfg is gonna time travel and pick up jesus. then the trust in the government is gonna up cuz people are gonna believe that the government is god which means that they start doing good deeds to get into heaven so they start solving back for climate change and stop herbert from waking up and ending the human race

In 1970, the DETMT's Turbotrain began operations on the Paris–Cherbourg line, and operated at 160 km/h (99 mph) despite being designed for usage at 200 km/h (120 mph). It used gas-turbine powered multiple elements and was the basis for future experimentation with TGV services, including shuttle services and regular high rate schedules.

In 1971, the "C03" project, now known as "TGV Sud-Est", was validated by the government, against Bertin's Aerotrain. Until this date, there was a rivalry between the French Land Settlement Commission (DATAR), supporting the Aérotrain, and the SNCF and its ministry, supporting conventional rail. The "C03 project" included a new High-Speed line between Paris and Lyon, with new multi-engined trains running at 260 km/h (160 mph). At that time, the classic Paris-Lyon line was already congested and a new line was required; this busy corridor, neither too short (where high speeds give limited reductions in end to end times) nor too long (where planes are faster in city center to city center travel time), was the best choice for the new service.

The 1973 oil crisis substantially increased oil prices. In the continuity of the De Gaulle "energy self-sufficiency" and nuclear-energy policy, a ministry decision switched the future TGV from now costly gas-turbine to full electric energy in 1974. An electric railcar named Zébulon was developed for testing at very high speeds, reaching a speed of 306 km/h (190 mph). It was used to develop pantographs capable of withstanding speeds of over 300 km/h (190 mph).

After intensive tests with the gas-turbine "TGV 001" prototype, and the electric "Zébulon", in 1977, the SNCF placed an order to the group Alstom–Francorail–MTE for 87 TGV Sud-Est trainsets. They used the "TGV 001" concept, with a permanently coupled set of eight cars, sharing Jacobs bogies, and hauled by two electric-power cars, one at each end.

In 1981, the first section of the new Paris–Lyon High-Speed line was inaugurated, with a 260 km/h (160 mph) top speed (then 270 km/h (170 mph) soon after). Being able to use both dedicated high-speed and conventional lines, the TGV offered the ability to join every city in the country at shorter journey times. After the introduction of the TGV on some routes, air traffic on these routes decreased and in some cases disappeared. The TGV set a publicised speed records in 1981 at 380 km/h (240 mph), in 1990 at 515 km/h (320 mph), and then in 2007 at 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), although these were test speeds, rather than operation train speeds.

Germany[edit][]

Main article: High-speed rail in Germany The German ICE 1 Following the French TGV and the ETR 450 and Direttissima in Italy, in 1991 Germany was the third country in Europe to inaugurate a high-speed rail service, with the launch of the Intercity-Express (ICE) on the new Hannover–Würzburg high-speed railway, operating at a top speed of 280 km/h (170 mph). The German ICE train was similar to the TGV, with dedicated streamlined power cars at both ends, but a variable number of trailers between them. Unlike the TGV, the trailers had two conventional bogies per car, and could be uncoupled, allowing the train to be lengthened or shortened. This introduction was the result of ten years of study with the ICE-V prototype, originally called Intercity Experimental, which broke the world speed record in 1988, reaching 406 km/h (252 mph).

Italy[edit][]

Main article: High-speed rail in Italy The Frecciarossa 1000 at the Torino Porta Susa railway station. The earliest European high-speed railway to be built was the Italian Florence–Rome high-speed railway (also called "Direttissima"). The railway was built between 1978 and 1992 and was served by trains pulled by FS Class E444 3 kV DC locomotives. However, it was not until the late 1980s that a more complete high-speed rail network was planned. The initial project envisaged the development of the network on two main axes: the Turin-Trieste one and the Milan-Salerno via Rome one. Today, of this project, the sections between Turin and Brescia, between Padua and Venice and between Milan and Salerno have been built whereas the 150 km (93 mi) long section between Brescia and Padua is still under construction. In the meantime new sections have been planned, such as the Turin-Lyon high speed railway, which includes the construction of the international Mont d'Ambin Base tunnel, Naples-Bari, Milan-Genoa, Salerno-Reggio Calabria and Palermo-Catania-Messina (in Sicily) as the main work; these last two sections could be connected following a possible construction of the Strait of Messina Bridge.

In Italy, the characteristics of high-speed lines are rather unique. In fact, the network was conceived with the aim of "high capacity" (in Italian "alta capacità"), in addition to that of "high speed". The "high capacity" consists of a series of technical characteristics (in particular concerning the monitoring of railway traffic and the increase in the capacity of the tracks) that allow the passage of freight at high speed. This last characteristic (also present in China, but with different technologies) and the characteristics of the particularly mountainous territory of the Italian peninsula have caused a very high increase in construction costs (20/68 million € per km). Furthermore, unlike the networks of other countries, such as France, the high-speed railways have been built completely independently from the normal networks, following very straight and linear trajectories. Only in the development of more recent lines (like the Napoli-Bari or the Palermo-Catania-Messina) it was preferred to intervene on existing lines, speeding them up by increasing their performance with more linear deviations.

The trains services on the high-speed lines in Italy are the Frecciarossa, the Frecciargento and the Italo (the latter of the private company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori).

Spain[edit][]

Main article: AVE The Spanish AVE AVE Class 102 "Pato" (duck) In 1992, just in time for the Barcelona Olympic Games and Seville Expo '92, the Madrid–Seville high-speed rail line opened in Spain with 25 kV AC electrification, and standard gauge, differing from all other Spanish lines which used Iberian gauge. This allowed the AVE rail service to begin operations using Class 100 trainsets built by Alstom, directly derived in design from the French TGV trains. The service was very popular and development continued on high-speed rail in Spain.

In 2005, the Spanish Government announced an ambitious plan, (PEIT 2005–2020) envisioning that by 2020, 90 percent of the population would live within 50 km (30 mi) of a station served by AVE. Spain began building the largest HSR network in Europe: as of 2011, five of the new lines have opened (Madrid–Zaragoza–Lleida–Tarragona–Barcelona, Córdoba–Malaga, Madrid–Toledo, Madrid–Segovia–Valladolid, Madrid–Cuenca–Valencia) and another 2,219 km (1,380 mi) were under construction. Opened in early 2013, the Perpignan–Barcelona high-speed rail line provides a link with neighbouring France with trains running to Paris, Lyon, Montpellier and Marseille.

Evolution in the United States[edit][]

Main article: High-speed rail in the United States The Acela In 1992, the United States Congress passed the Amtrak Authorization and Development Act that authorized Amtrak to start working on service improvements on the segment between Boston and New York City of the Northeast Corridor. The primary objectives were to electrify the line north of New Haven, Connecticut, to eliminate grade crossings and replace the then 30-year-old Metroliners with new trains, so that the distance between Boston and New York City could be covered in 3 hours or less.

Amtrak started testing two trains, the Swedish X2000 and the German ICE 1, in the same year along its fully electrified segment between New York City and Washington DC. The officials favored the X2000 as it had a tilting mechanism. However, the Swedish manufacturer never bid on the contract as the burdensome United States railroad regulations required them to heavily modify the train resulting in added weight, among other things. Eventually, a custom-made tilting train derived from TGV, manufactured by Alstom and Bombardier, won the contract and was put into service in December 2000.

The new service was named "Acela Express" and linked Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. The service did not meet the 3-hour travel time objective between Boston and New York City. The time was 3 hours and 24 minutes as it partially ran on regular lines, limiting its average speed, with a maximum speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) being reached on a small section of its route through Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

As of November 2021, the U.S. has one high-speed rail line under construction (California High-Speed Rail) in California, and advanced planning by a company called Texas Central Railway in Texas, higher-speed rail projects in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Southeast, as well as upgrades on the high-speed Northeast Corridor. The private higher speed rail venture Brightline in Florida started operations along part of its route in early 2018. Speeds are this far limited to 127 km/h (79 mph) but extensions will be built for a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph).

Expansion in East Asia[edit][]

For four decades from its opening in 1964, the Japanese Shinkansen was the only high-speed rail service outside of Europe. In the 2000s a number of new high-speed rail services started operating in East Asia.

Chinese CRH and CR[edit][]

Main article: High-speed rail in China

A CR400AF train set on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway at Beijing South railway station

A CRH380A at Luoyang Longmen railway station

High-speed rail was introduced to China in 2003 with the Qinhuangdao–Shenyang high-speed railway. The Chinese government made high-speed rail construction a cornerstone of its economic stimulus program in order to combat the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis and the result has been a rapid development of the Chinese rail system into the world's most extensive high-speed rail network. By 2013 the system had 11,028 km (6,852 mi) of operational track, accounting for about half of the world's total at the time. By the end of 2018, the total high-speed railway (HSR) in China had risen to over 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles). Over 1,713 billion trips were made in 2017, more than half of China's total railway passenger delivery, making it the world's busiest network.

State planning for high-speed railway began in the early 1990s, and the country's first high-speed rail line, the Qinhuangdao–Shenyang Passenger Railway, was built in 1999 and opened to commercial operation in 2003. This line could accommodate commercial trains running at up to 200 km/h (120 mph). Planners also considered Germany's Transrapid maglev technology and built the Shanghai maglev train, which runs on a 30.5 km (19.0 mi) track linking the Pudong, the city's financial district, and the Pudong International Airport. The maglev train service began operating in 2004 with trains reaching a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), and remains the fastest high-speed service in the world. Maglev, however, was not adopted nationally and all subsequent expansion features high-speed rail on conventional tracks.

In the 1990s, China's domestic train production industry designed and produced a series of high-speed train prototypes but few were used in commercial operation and none were mass-produced. The Chinese Ministry of Railways (MOR) then arranged for the purchase of foreign high-speed trains from French, German, and Japanese manufacturers along with certain technology transfers and joint ventures with domestic trainmakers. In 2007, the MOR introduced the China Railways High-speed (CRH) service, also known as "Harmony Trains", a version of the German Siemens Velaro high-speed train.

In 2008, high-speed trains began running at a top speed of 350 km/h (220 mph) on the Beijing–Tianjin intercity railway, which opened during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The following year, trains on the newly opened Wuhan–Guangzhou high-speed railway set a world record for average speed over an entire trip, at 312.5 km/h (194.2 mph) over 968 kilometres (601 miles).

A collision of high-speed trains on 23 July 2011 in Zhejiang province killed 40 and injured 195, raising concerns about operational safety. A credit crunch later that year slowed the construction of new lines. In July 2011, top train speeds were lowered to 300 km/h (190 mph). But by 2012, the high-speed rail boom had renewed with new lines and new rolling stock by domestic producers that had indigenised foreign technology. On 26 December 2012, China opened the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong high-speed railway, the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 2,208 km (1,372 mi) from Beijing West railway station to Shenzhen North Railway Station. The network set a target to create the 4+4 National high-speed rail Grid by 2015, and continues to rapidly expand with the July 2016 announcement of the 8+8 National high-speed rail Grid. In 2017, 350 km/h (217 mph) services resumed on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway, once again refreshing the world record for average speed with select services running between Beijing South to Nanjing South reaching average speeds of 317.7 km/h (197.4 mph).

South Korean KTX[edit][]

The Korean-developed KTX Sancheon In South Korea, Korea Train Express (KTX) services were launched on 1 April 2004, using French (TGV) technology, on the Seoul–Busan corridor, Korea's busiest traffic corridor, between the two largest cities. In 1982, it represented 65.8% of South Korea's population, a number that grew to 73.3% by 1995, along with 70% of freight traffic and 66% of passenger traffic. With both the Gyeongbu Expressway and Korail's Gyeongbu Line congested as of the late 1970s, the government saw the pressing need for another form of transportation.

Construction began on the high-speed line from Seoul to Busan in 1992 with the first commercial service launching in 2004. Top speed for trains in regular service is currently 305 km/h (190 mph), though the infrastructure is designed for 350 km/h (220 mph). The initial rolling stock was based on Alstom's TGV Réseau, and was partly built in Korea. The domestically developed HSR-350x, which achieved 352.4 km/h (219.0 mph) in tests, resulted in a second type of high-speed trains now operated by Korail, the KTX Sancheon. The next generation KTX train, HEMU-430X, achieved 421.4 km/h (261.8 mph) in 2013, making South Korea the world's fourth country after France, Japan, and China to develop a high-speed train running on conventional rail above 420 km/h (260 mph).

Taiwan HSR[edit][]

Taiwan high-speed rail, derived from the Shinkansen Taiwan High Speed Rail's first and only HSR line opened for service on 5 January 2007, using Japanese trains with a top speed of 300 km/h (190 mph). The service traverses 345 km (214 mi) from Nangang to Zuoying in as little as 105 minutes. While it contains only one line, its route covers Western Taiwan which resides over 90% of Taiwan's population; all four of larger Taiwanese metropolitans: Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taiwan's technology core Hsinchu City are connected. Once THSR began operations, almost all passengers switched from airlines flying parallel routes while road traffic was also reduced.

Middle East and Central Asia[edit][]

Main articles: High-speed rail in Turkey, Haramain high-speed railway, and Egypt's High-speed rail

Turkey[edit][]

In 2009, Turkey inaugurated a high-speed service between Ankara and Eskișehir. This has been followed up by an Ankara – Konya route, and the Eskișehir line has been extended to Istanbul (Asian part).

Uzbekistan[edit][]

Uzbekistan opened the Afrosiyob 344 km (214 mi) service from Tashkent to Samarkand in 2011, which was upgraded in 2013 to an average operational speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) and peak speed of 250 km/h (160 mph). The Talgo 250 service has been extended to Karshi as of August 2015 whereby the train travels 450 km (280 mi) in 3 hours. As of August 2016, the train service was extended to Bukhara, and the 600 km (370 mi) extension will take 3 hours and 20 minutes down from 7 hours.

Egypt[]

Rocket train

Rocket Train[]

The Rocket train is an electric train that goes faster than the Dinosaur train and it shares same rails as the Dinosaur train. The driver and conductor of the rocket train is Thurston Troodon.

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