Realistically, your vacation starts the moment you leave your front door and fast trains are the perfect compromise between getting there quickly and enjoying the journey.
With an average flight speed of 567 miles per hour on a commercial flight, these trains aren’t as nearly as fast, but we all know what clouds look like at 35,000 feet.
On a fast bullet train, you’ll still get to your fave vacation spot quickly while taking in some great countryside. In addition, there’s even a train where you can get a chef to make sushi for you.
Also, for the most part, the bullet train cabins have high ceilings, wide aisles, big windows, and plenty of legroom compared to airplanes.
You can even find rows with electrical outlets and seats that lean back to nearly a 45-degree angle.
Upgrades can include plush leather seats along with an endless meal and beverage service.
That sounds like a much better way to travel and worth the extra hour or so.
What Are The Fastest Bullet Trains?
Here are our top 5 bullet trains, not particularly by speed, but by countries that you might want to visit.
Shanghai Maglev, 267.8 mph or 431kmph, China
Currently, Shangai Maglev is the world’s fastest train although this type of “Maglev” technology is just as fast-paced, so mad scientists are hard at work making this ride smoother and faster as we speak. Sounds like you’re going to need the same durable travel gear celebrities use.
Maglev stands for Magnetic Levitation. There are no wheels, no axles, no gear transmissions, and no steel rails. The train just “floats” on top of the tracks. This fast train runs on a special track and glides on magnetic fields created on the track.
Here’s a Brit giving us the grand tour on one of these magnificent trains.
AVG Italo, 223.6 mph or 360 kmph, Italy
AVG Italo started its commercial service in 2007 and is the fastest train in operation in Europe. During tests it recorded a maximum speed of 356.6 mph, but who wants to try that going around a turn?
This line operates between Rome and Naples and covers a distance of 140 miles in less than an hour. It is also a good example of Green Manufacturing and 98% of its parts are recyclable.
There are four classes of seating; Club Executive, Prima, Comfort, and Smart. All classes are equipped with premium luxury amenities which include plush leather reclining seats, power outlets, and Wi-Fi.
The Club Executive Complimentary entry to Lounge Italo Club, where waiting for a train becomes a pleasure. (Available in those stations containing Lounge Italo Club). This is much like the luxury airport lounges offered to those traveling in style. You also get –
- Dedicated access to your train with the new Fast Track service
- Extra-wide armchairs for maximum comfort.
- Dedicated catering including expresso coffee and a mouthwatering selection of Italian sandwiches, bakery products, and drinks.
- Every seat includes a 9” personal screen so you can enjoy the great selection of complimentary onboard entertainment.
Talgo 350, 217.4 mph or 350 kmph, Spain
This bullet train was ordered by Spanish National Railways Renfe and operates on the Barcelona-Madrid line. It was delivered in July 2005 and began operations in June 2007.
Renfe is the Spanish national railway company that operates the Alta Velocidad Española or AVE service, which is the high-speed rail service in Spain. Here, Velaro trains are named AVS 103.
The Velaro E operates between Barcelona and Madrid at an operating speed of 217.4 mph. The travel time for a 504 km distance is around two and a half hours. It also operates on several other routes connecting major cities. A trip from Barcelona to Paris takes just 6 hours.
Commonly known as El Pato (meaning The Duck in Spanish), the train has been operating on the Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida section of the Madrid-Barcelona line in Spain since 2005.
There are currently more than 46 operating trains of the series in the country. Wait, WHAT? Did someone say traveling duck?
The train has 2 driving cabins and 12 passenger cars, and the seating is divided into several classes such as Premium, business, first-class, etc.
E5 Series Shinkansen Hayabusa, 186 mph or 300kmph, Japan
The E5 sets run the new Hayabusa services between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, on the island of Hokkaido.
Smooth and Easy
The two very important features in the design of the vehicle are the full active suspension (FSA) and the Body Tilting System. Full active suspension reduces the vibration of the moving bogie. The centrifugal force is nullified using the tilting system.
The production sets have a new seating class in the last car (car 10). Called Gran Class it is designed to be more luxurious than the Green Class (first class) carriages, hence why it was called “Super Green Car” originally.
The Gran Class features a 2+1 row seating arrangement and a maximum reclining angle of 45 degrees. The Gran Class seating also has electrical outlets and offers meals.
The light meal and drinks are included in Gran Class fare. You can choose a meal between Japanese style or Western cuisine.
Soft drinks and alcohol are included, you can order anytime and it is all you can drink. Just don’t think you can walk off the train with bottles of sake. It all stays on the train.
Eurostar, 186 miles per hour or 300 kmph, UK, France, and Belgium
Eurostar is the high-speed rail service connecting London to several European destinations including Paris, Lille, and Brussels.
This is the train that travels through an undersea tunnel across the channel (called the chunnel) connecting southern England and northern France.
The London to Paris trip takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes which gives the service plenty of time to up their game.
In the past, they have offered masterclasses on food, arts, and culture, cocktail mixing as well as wine tasting on selected Eurostar trains. The train has wi-fi and also goes to Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
A little fun fact when they tried to update its alcohol policy –
The move caused social media mayhem when a gent known as the Man In Seat 61, opened the proverbial floodgates.
He wrote on Twitter: “Eurostar has quietly changed its luggage policy, and now no-one is allowed on with even a small bottle of spirits given (or to be given) as a present for example. And no more than one bottle of wine. This is completely unnecessary. Eurostar is a train, not a plane.”
Thanks to the Man in Seat 61, travelers can now consume four bottles or cans of beer or one bottle of wine per person, and carry “a few bottles back from their trip.” Hey, let’s raise our glasses to the Man in Seat 61!