Essay

These Countries Have the Most Miles of High-Speed Rail Lines

Is the future being shaped by high-speed rail? According to research, air travel is not as competitive with trains for routes of 620 miles (1,000 km) or less when they are moving at a minimum of 124 mph (200 kph). Approximately twenty countries have adopted high-speed rail systems since Japan debuted the first “bullet train” in 1964. Although there isn’t a set definition for “high speed,” trains that top 155 mph (250 km/h) are usually referred to as such. In Europe and Asia, where train travel is already widely recognised, the majority of the countries that have adopted this trend are those regions. Discover which nations are dominating the rails and which are still just departing the station by reading on.

Benefits and Drawbacks of High-Speed Rail

There are several excellent reasons to choose high-speed rail. People can live further away from an urban centre and still make a reasonable commute to work at these speeds. When compared to air travel or vehicle traffic, trains can cut air pollution by 20% or more. Additionally, more people taking mass transportation means less traffic on the roadways, which lowers maintenance and construction costs and saves time stuck in traffic. The freedom of not having to hunt for or pay for a parking spot—just think about it!

However, it requires a costly upfront investment of billions of dollars to purchase high-performance trains and upgraded, specialised rail lines. Reconfiguring road crossings is necessary to avoid catastrophic collisions. Urban sprawl will unavoidably increase as the commuter radius around the city expands, with suburbs extending far into wilderness and agricultural areas that were previously unsuitable for development. In addition to becoming a target for terrorism, mass transit of any kind puts the public’s health at danger from the pandemic’s quick spread. The congested areas, set times, and inflexible locations of public transportation might cause stress for certain individuals when commuting.

1. United States 457 mi. (735 km)

Amtrak is the only passenger train network in the United States, and it operates thanks to government subsidies. Trains typically travel at 40 mph (64 km/h), but they frequently slow to a crawl as they pass through the numerous towns and crossings of roads along their itineraries. Amtrak plans to introduce its new Acela Fleet trains onto the heavily trafficked northeastern corridor in 2024.

Advocates of high-speed rail propose ten national corridors connecting the nation’s biggest cities. These would include lines that stretch from Maine to Miami, the Pacific Northwest, California, Chicago, and the neighbouring Midwest cities, as well as lines that reach from North Carolina to Texas in the south. Most of these lines are unlikely to become a reality anytime soon since infrastructure spending is controversial at a time when budget deficits are skyrocketing.

2. Sweden 534 mi. (860 km)

The SJ High-Speed Train is Sweden’s high-speed rail system, with top speeds of 188 mph (303 km/h). Denmark’s Copenhagen and Stockholm are connected by high-speed rail lines in Sweden. Trains travel north as far as Umeå and west as Göteborg.

3. South Korea 542 mi. (873 km)

In the 2016 movie Train to Busan, the passengers of the South Korean high-speed train, known as the KTX (Korea Train Express), gained international fame as they frantically attempted to escape a zombie apocalypse that was spreading. The actual train can travel at 205 mph (330 km/h). But it can’t maintain such speeds for very long because it has to stop at towns along the way, which allows zombies far too many chances to board!

4. Italy 572 mi. (921 km)

With trains reaching up to 248 mph (400 km/h), Italy’s Alta Velocità (AV) has some of the fastest train speeds in all of Europe. The current route connects Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Bologna, and Turin. Extended service across southern Italy and connections to France and Austria are planned.

5. Turkey 654 mi. (1,052 km)

The name of Turkey’s high-speed rail network is Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT). It can travel at up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Nowadays, important cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Konya, and Sivas are connected by high-speed lines.While Iraq is creating a high-speed line from the Persian Gulf to the Turkish border, Turkey is building one to its neighbour, Bulgaria.

6. Finland 696 mi. (1,120 km)

The VR-Group Pic is the name of Finland’s high-speed rail. It can move at up to 137 miles per hour (220 km/h). The Helsinki-St. Petersburg run is one of its main routes, however its continued popularity and profitability are questionable. Tensions between Finland and Russia have escalated significantly as a result of Finland’s decision to join NATO and take part in the imposition of international sanctions against Russia in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

7. Germany 967 mi. (1,571 km)

While Germany’s high-speed rail network is not as extensive as that of some other European nations, the majority of its main cities are easily accessible via the Deutsche Bahn Intercity-Express (ICE) system. It has a top speed of 550 km/h (342 mph).

8. France 1,699 mi. (2,735 km)

The first high-speed rail line in Europe was France’s Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV), which connected Paris and Lyon when it initially opened for business in 1981. The majority of France’s major cities are now connected by high-speed rail, with the hub being Paris. The TGV can go at up to 199 mph (320 km/h).

9. Japan 1,914 mi. (3,081 km)

The first high-speed train line in history was the Shinkansen line, which connected Tokyo and Osaka. Often referred to as the “bullet train,” it made its debut during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and ignited a global competition to build comparable systems. China’s fastest Maglev is only surpassed by Japan’s L0 Series Maglev, which employs magnetic levitation technology and can achieve a maximum speed of 375 mph (603 km/h).

10. Spain 2,275 mi. (3,661 km)

The Alta Velocidad high-speed train network connects Spain to Portugal and France. It is capable of reaching 192 mph (310 km/h). With the longest network in Europe, Spain boasts the second-longest network globally.

11. China 25,149 mi. (40,474 km)

China Railway High-Speed (CRH) is the name of the country’s high-speed rail network, which is growing at a much faster rate than the combined total of all its competitors worldwide. There are currently 8,078 mi (13,000 km) of high-speed rail being built, which will add roughly 32% to the network. Magnetic levitation is used along part of its path. At 373 mph (600 km/h), the CRRC Qingdao Sifang 2021 Maglev can travel at an incredible speed.

Highlights of High-Speed Rail Lines by Country:

Country System Name Total High-Speed Lines Max Speed
China China Railway High-Speed (CRH) 25,149 mi. (40,474 km) 373 mph (600 km/h)
Spain Alta Velocidad 2,275 mi. (3,661 km) 192 mph (310 km/h)
Japan Shinkansen 1,914 mi. (3,081 km) 375 mph (603 km/h)
France Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) 1,699 mi. (2,735 km) 199 mph (320 km/h)
Germany Deutsche Bahn Intercity-Express (ICE) 967 mi. (1,571 km) 342 mph (550 km/h)
Finland VR-Group Pic 696 mi. (1,120 km) 137 mph (220 km/h)
Turkey Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT) 654 mi. (1,052 km) 186 mph (300 km/h)
Italy Alta Velocità (AV) 572 mi. (921 km) 248 mph (400 km/h)
South Korea KTX (Korea Train Express) 542 mi. (873 km) 205 mph (330 km/h)
Sweden SJ High-Speed Train 534 mi. (860 km) 188 mph (303 km/h)
United States Amtrak (Acela Fleet) 457 mi. (735 km) 160 mph (257 km/h)