How High-Speed Trains Work

High speed trains are becoming more and more popular around the world, especially in large cities and countries where it makes sense that people would want to travel at faster speeds. Have you ever wondered though how it is exactly that these trains work?  Join us in this educative piece as we take you through all you need to know about high-speed trains.

The Definition of High-Speed Railway

The high-speed railway has no standard definition. Generally, any railway system designed to allow speed limits above 240km/h is regarded as a high-speed railway, although there are sections for lower speed range for safety purposes. Worldwide, we have only sixteen countries with high-speed railways. China ranks top with about 28, 000 km distance as the world’s most extended rail network, countries like Spain, France, Japan, and Germany have rail networks for high-speed trains with over 1,200 km distance.

Speed Trains Run on Conventional Tracks

A large amount of these high-speed trains can run on a traditional railway track. However, in order to support the speeds of the trains without failure they are typically made of stronger materials and with stronger gauges. They then have two harmonized power cars, one at each end of the train. These cars are the engines of the train and they are what give it its power and speed. Many of these train lines must be kept straight, the trains can go fastest when they are going in a straight line. Too many turns and curves will slow down the speed of the train.

Maglev Trains

Compared to the traditional trains with wheels, the Maglev is a new age model train designed to operate using magnetic levitation. Electromagnets help levitates the trains a short distance beyond the rail. Unlike the conventional trains, Maglev has more efficient control over its acceleration and breaks. And does not depend on the fiction track to stop, the magnets produce the thrust that propels the train.

They are only three functional commercial Maglev systems in the world today. In China, South Korea, and Japan. The Maglev requires a massive sum of finance to build operate and maintain so they are not as widely used.

New High-Speed Trains

In 1946, Japan inaugurated the first Tokyo and Osaka high-speed line with the ability to move with a velocity of 200 km/h. The important sections of the line between Florence and Rome were designed into Europe’s first high-speed line in 1977, with speed capacity of 240km/h. The complete route was finished in 1992. On September 27, 1981, the French national rail company started its first high-speed line from Paris to Lyons with speed capacity of 250km/h. Since then more and more have been built and they have been improved over time as well. While these may not seem that new to you compared to the history of the traditional railway the use of high speed trains is relatively new and as it is still not used in all countries it is an exciting topic for many.