When it comes to rapid movements between cities and countries, flights come to mind first of all. However, in the modern world, high-speed highways are actively developing, new trains are emerging that cover long distances in a couple of hours at a speed of several hundred kilometers per hour.
China has been ahead of the curve
Trains capable of reaching speeds of 300 km/h are considered superfast. Their development began in the 1960s. They appeared in Europe in 1961. First they began to run in France, then in Germany and the UK, and then a high-speed railway connected the countries of western Europe.
Japan has one of the most developed high-speed rail lines with a length of 3 thousand km. The most famous Japanese train of this category is JR Shinkansen, capable of speeds up to 320 km/h.
In South Korea, the bullet train service operated by the operator Korea Train Express started only in 2004. The Korail KTX-Sancheon train reaches speeds of up to 305 km/h. In Africa, only one country has its own high-speed line - Morocco. ONCF Al Boraq trains reach a speed of 320 km/h.
The leader in this race is China, where several high-speed trains run at once, including the fastest in the world. So, in July 2023, during tests, the new Chinese CR450 reached a speed of 453 km /h. However, its real speed is expected to be lower - an average of 400 km/h.
Currently, trains run in China: CR Fuxing - 350 km/h, CR Harmony - 350 km/ h, as well as the main star of the Shanghai Maglev railways - 460 km/h. This train travels along a magnetic line and currently remains the world speed record holder.
US seeks to catch up with leaders
Unexpectedly, the United States lags far behind China, Japan, Europe and even Morocco in the railway sector. Since 2000, state-funded Acela trains have been operating in the northeastern United States. They reach speeds of 240 km/h.
According to Quartz, a new ambitious project in this area will start in Florida this year. The private passenger railway company Brightline, founded in 2018, made its first high-speed trip between two major tourist centers of the state - Miami and Orlando on September 22. However, the trains only reached a speed of 200 km/h during the 378-kilometer trip. The new route cost Brightline $5 billion, which was financed by the private investment company Fortress Investment Group. She also paid for a similar Brightline West project in California and Nevada, the implementation of which will take 4 years.
Brightline West also received $25 million as a grant from the state. Washington State has also applied for $198.1 million in high-speed rail construction funding as part of the Cascadia Rail project.
Over the entire period of development, billions of dollars of US government funding have been allocated to high-speed rail projects. So far, the pace of their development in the country has been slow, but all current projects are expected to be implemented before the end of this decade.
High-speed trains will appear in Russia
Russia is also significantly behind the leaders of the race. In Russia, the fastest trains are the Sapsan brand, which are manufactured in Germany by Siemens Mobility. "Sapsan" reach speeds of up to 250 km/h. However, there is still no high-speed highway between the two capitals - Moscow and St. Petersburg - in the country. Its construction, according to experts, will allow you to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg by rail in a couple of hours.
In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the moment had come for the creation of a high-speed highway in the country, and the first one would be the path between the capitals. The idea of creating this route has been in the air since the 1960s, and since then it has been regularly postponed for later. The reason for this is the enormous financial costs necessary for the construction of a high-speed highway. According to experts, in 2020 the total cost of the project was more than 1 trillion rubles. It is not yet possible to calculate exactly how much a ticket for such a fast train will cost.