• Fastest trains?

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by Komachi
Hey, guys!

I was watching TV last night after work, and came across an episode of "Extreme Engineering" on the Discovery Channel. They were discussing the possibility of constructing a trans-Atlantic tunnel using Maglev trains in a vacumn (no friction from rails and no air resistance), an interesting idea to say the least.

During the program, they mentioned that the fastest trains in the world in operation today are the Japanese Shinkansen (or "Bullet trains" as their more comonly referred) running between Tokyo and Hiroshima are the fastest. Last I heard the French TGV trains were the fastest, can anyone verify the current holder of "fastest (conventional) trains?" The Internet Movie Data Base (imdb.com) lists the programs as being filmed in 2003, although the footage of the bullet trains was of the 0 (zero) and 100 (maybe 200) series trainsets which were built from 1964 to 1991! Maybe they used these because they are the types that are synonomus with "bullet train" as opposed to the leach-looking 500 series or Platypus inspired 700 series (give me the E3 series any day!)

Have the Japanese regained the title of having the world's fastest trains, or was the program incorrect on its facts? Just wondering.

BTW: Here's a link that shows the different Shinkansen types in Japan...


  by Irish Chieftain
Fastest Shinkansen according to that link (500 and 700 series on the Tokaido line) currently operates at 300 km/h (186 mph), the same as the older TGVs. Newer models in the future are supposed to hit 350 km/h (220 mph), the same speed as planned for Spain's Madrid-Barcelona AVE line (which is supposed to use a mix of Talgo 350s and ICE IIIs).

  by David Benton
I remember reading of early attempts at air assisted vaccum tube railways in Cornwell? , England over 100 years ago . They were using air to suck the carriage containing people through the tube . I think a short prototype was even built . Problems with sealing avaliable in those days was problem i believe . no problem today , and with todays uper magnets keeping the train in the centre no problem either . Cost though would be the maor hurdle , with the chunnel Tunnel in fianiacial strife , difficult to see anyone backing it .
  by eddiebear
There's a book on the lines in England which were operated with compressed air power. It is ATMOSPHERIC RAILWAYS, don't know the author, published in England about 40 yrs. ago. When they worked, they worked well, smooth, clean and got up to 60 mph at times. An air line ran along side the tracks and were connected to the string of cars through a piston. Sealing the joints was the biggest problem operating them.

  by MBTA F40PH-2C 1050
Komachi, i saw that also!!!! that was an intresting video/show

  by Irish Chieftain
Compressed-air propulsion would be more in line with structures like the Beeching Subway in NYC. The idea behind the vacuum HSR is to remove the air to get rid of all of the resistance that atmosphere presents—then your HST can be any shape you want it to be, actually, even with a completely vertical end like your typical commuter EMU.

  by David Cole
Isn't there an active seismic fault in the middle of the Atlantic? That could make things, um, interesting.