A healthy competition has since ever been among the developed countries for having the fastest trains, bullet trains and others to provide adventure like experience to the commuters as well as to save their time. The very idea behind such experiments is to convert the hardships of the travelling into to pleasure and enjoyment.
Perhaps it was 1964 when world’s first high speed rail system – Shinkansen or bullet train started ops at speed of 210 kmph. In 1973, West Germany’s TR04 Maglev touched 250 kmph. The first rail lines in Japan opened in 1872, but these steam-powered trains were a far cry from the speeds attainable today. Planning for the bullet train system began even before World War II, with land being acquired as early as the late 1930s. Inauguration, 1964.
Today High Speed Rail is the new future. and many countries have developed high-speed rail to connect major cities, including Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan.
Rail, high speed or not, is one of the safest ways to get around. Other countries’ experience shows that high-speed rail can be even safer than the much slower U S trains. The bullet trains that zoom through France and Japan, for instance, testify to the astonishing safety offered by well-managed rail services. The Shinkansen trains are tapered like the nose of an airplane. Minimizing vibration: When trains reach high speeds, the wheels vibrate on the rails. … And to allow the trains to go as fast as possible, Shinkansen tracks have no sharp curves.
The maximum operating speed is 320 km/h (200 mph) (on a 387.5 km section of the Tōhoku Shinkansen). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 603 km/h (375 mph) for SC Maglev trains in April 2015. High speed trains are powered by ELECTRICITY, by over head power supply line dedicated for the trains . Over head power supply lines are powered by 25000 volt AC supply. Even world’s best JAPANESE TRAINS (Bullet Train) has over head supply lines .
It interesting that in Switzerland, a country in love with its railways, the Glacier Express is the most popular and attractive of her trains. The slowest express train in the world travels over 291 km of tracks and 291 bridges while going through 91 tunnels and climbing to the top of the Oberalp Pass at 2,033 m.
China already has several of the world’s fastest operating trains. The fastest is a non-bullet train – the Shanghai Maglev that can reach speeds up to 430 kilometers an hour. Presently Shanghai Maglev, also known as Shanghai Transrapid, is currently the fastest train in the world. CRH 380A running between Beijing and Shanghai, was manufactured by CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock.
Back in 2007, The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, French for High-Speed Train) holds a series of land speed records for rail vehicles achieved by SNCF, the French national railway, and its industrial partners. The high-speed trials are intended to expand the limits of high-speed rail technology, increasing speed and comfort without compromising safety. The current world speed record for a commercial train on steel wheels is held by the French TGV at 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), achieved on 3 April 2007 on the new LGV Est.
On the other hand, now Japan has started testing the latest version of its high-speed bullet train. Each new generation of Shinkansen, as it’s known locally, brings with it a design even more dazzling than the one that came before, and the new Alfa-X, which stands for Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail eXperimentation, is certainly no exception. For starters, check out the extraordinary front car at 22 meters, Japan Railways’ next-generation bullet sports the longest, sleekest nose ever seen on a train.
The fastest bullet train in operation today travels at almost 320 kmh (198 mph), but the Alfa-X— or E956 Series to give it its official name will whisk passengers along at a breathtaking 360 kmh (224 mph). During the test phase, however, Japan Railways hopes to push the Alfa-X to speeds of 400 kmh (248 mph). It’s set to become the fastest commercial train service in the world, though Shanghai’s maglev train, which admittedly uses different technology, carries passengers at an even greater speed of (431 kmh) 267 mph.
The high speed of the Alfa-X has been made possible by reducing the weight of the train’s components. Work has also gone into reducing train noise inside and out, and, for an even smoother ride, new vertical vibration dampening devices have been introduced to accompany the existing lateral ones. As for that extraordinary 22-meter-long nose, it’s been designed that way to reduce the pressure waves that are created when entering tunnels at high speed.
In a country that has to deal with the constant threat of earthquakes, the Alfa-X also incorporates new anti-earthquake dampers that automatically activate in response to strong tremors to stabilize the train’s movement and prevent it from toppling off the track. Bullet trains brake automatically and rapidly when nearby tremors occur, but the new dampers will help to improve stability not only as it’s moving, but also after it comes to a complete stop.
The high-speed Alfa-X will serve routes in the region of Tohoku, east of Tokyo, and north to the island of Hokkaido, though years of rigorous testing mean it won’t start carrying paying passengers until 2030. Japan is also developing a high speed maglev train. Using powerful magnets for levitation and propulsion, the train has already reached speeds of 603 km/h (375 mph) in testing, though a commercial service isn’t expected to launch until 2027 at the earliest.