Which is the world’s fastest railway train?

Railway trains have come a long way since the historic day of September 7, 1825 when George Stephenson’s steam locomotive, aptly named as ‘locomotion’, pulled the passenger train for the first time at the speed of 25 kilometers per hour. During 185 years long history of trains the speed has increased twenty-threefold. For a long period – almost a century – during which steam engines held sway, the maximum speed of trains remained restricted to 80-100 kilometers per hour. No significant milestones in the matter of speed were set up during these years. Real spurt in speed came after the introduction of electric train and magnetic train.

The era of high-speed trains was ushered in by electric-powered locomotives. It became possible to nearly double the speed of trains with these locomotives. Among such trains Japanese train named Shinkansen achieved legendary fame and became famous all over the world as Bullet train on account of both its shape as well as speed. When this train started playing on 500 kilometers Tokyo-Osaka route from October 1, 1964 many newspapers of the world reported the event on the front page as a revolutionary development. 208 kilometers per hour cruising speed of Bullet train was unmatched in the world and the technology that made it possible was unrivaled.

Current world record (as of January 2011) of the fastest railway train, however, belongs to state-of-the-art Japanese MAGLEV train (photo, above). MAGLEV is a short form of magnetic levitation. The speed record set up by this train is whopping 581 kilometers per hour!

More reading:
JR–Maglev (Wikipedia)
High-speed rail (Wikipedia)

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