The highest 10 quickest high-speed trains in Europe

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Europe has an extended historical past of high-speed trains, being an early adopter after the primary high-speed rail system, the Tokaido Shinkansen, started operations in Japan. Since France’s TGV community started improvement within the Nineteen Seventies, the European high-speed rail community has grown to its present measurement of over 20,500km in size, together with the Eurostar on the channel tunnel and the Trans-Alpine hyperlink by the Gotthard tunnel, with an additional 14,500km at the moment below development. 

Following the preliminary European providers in France, high-speed rail strains ultimately grew throughout the continent, with notable networks now working in Germany, Spain, and Italy.  

Looking forward to the longer term, high-speed rail can be an important part of the nice modal shift. Because the world tries to transition to extra sustainable types of journey, high-speed trains supply the right reply to short-haul flights, given the vastly decrease environmental affect.  

Certainly, some international locations are already introducing measures to incentivise selecting trains over planes, and capital funding additionally displays the high-speed growth – half of the ten most costly development tasks in 2023 had been high-speed rail tasks. 
 
So, with that in thoughts, right here’s an up to date rundown of the ten quickest high-speed trains at the moment in service in Europe proper now, by operational velocity. 

Two Sapsan high-speed trains sitting at the platforms at Moscow Leningrad station. TGV Eurostar
Two Sapsan high-speed trains at Moscow Leningrad station ready to depart for St. Petersburg. Credit score: bellena/Shutterstock

10. RZD Sapsan: 250km/h (Russia) 

The Sapsan, also referred to as the Velaro RUS EVS, is an electrical high-speed prepare. The prepare is a part of the Siemens Velaro household, regionally often called the Siemens Velaro RUS. 

The Sapsan, which takes its identify from the Russian phrase for  ’Peregrine Falcon’, is a Russian Gauge trainset with a most operational velocity of 250km/h. It’s the quickest passenger prepare at the moment working in Russia, with a non-operational report velocity of 290km/h. 

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Sapsan trains function from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod, in addition to from Saint Petersburg to Nizhny Novgorod. The 250m trainsets usually function in 10-car configurations with a capability of 600 passengers. 

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Siemens suspended its contract to provide extra trainsets, in addition to saying it could finish upkeep and different providers, with Russian Railways stepping in to proceed their upkeep. A Russian courtroom later dominated that Siemens’ termination of the contracts was invalid.

A Stadluer Giruno high-speed train travelling through the swiss alps
A Stadler Giruno passing Lake Zug within the Swiss Alps in Arth, Switzerland.

9. SBB Giruno: 250km/h (Switzerland) 

The RABe 501 is an electric-multiple unit high-speed prepare utilized by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), supposed to exchange the prevailing ETR610 fashions on the Trans-Alpine route from Milan to Basel and Zurich. SBB additionally intends to function the RABe 501 – initially referred to as the EC250 and later additionally referred to as SMILE – on providers additional afield to Austria and Germany. 

Constructed by Swiss rolling inventory producer Stadler, the 11-car trainsets function at a high velocity of 200km/h in Switzerland and 250km/h outdoors of Switzerland. The Rabe 501, nicknamed ‘Giruno’ from the Romansch phrase for ‘Buzzard’, has a capability of 403 passengers – 117 in top notch and 286 in second class. Two of the 202m prepare units could be coupled collectively to accommodate over 800 passengers. 

The Giruno is also referred to as the ‘Gotthard prepare’ since its essential route makes use of the 57km-long Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest railway tunnel on the planet, which bores by the Swiss Alps.

The Giruno hit a report velocity of 275km/h in testing and, in accordance with Stadler, it’s the world’s first single-decker low-floor high-speed prepare, and permits for step-free entry. The RABe 501 additionally options sign boosters for 3G/4G cellphone networks, energy sockets for Swiss and worldwide plugs, and enormous baggage racks. 

Exterior of Europe, the Philippine Nationwide Railways Bicol Specific EMUs can be primarily based on the Gruno, and Saudi Arabia Railways has additionally signed a contract for the availability of 10 trains which look to be shorter-length diesel a number of unit variants of the RABe 250. 

A Renfe Avant high-speed train and its wagons at Chamartin train station in Madrid, Spain. TGV Eurostar
Renfe Class 114 prepare at Chamartin Railway Station in Madrid, Spain. Credit score: alvarobueno/Shutterstock

8. Renfe Pendolino: 250km/h (Spain) 

The Avant community serves mid-distance routes with high-speed trains particularly designed for brief journeys. Spain’s nationwide operator Renfe makes use of Avant Class 104 and Avant Class 114 Pendolino trains on Avan routes, constructed by Spanish producer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and France’s Alstom

Avant Class 114, or S-114, trainsets comprise 4 single-voltage electrical railcars, measuring 108m in whole. In a position to hit 250km/h, the Class 114 has a capability of 237 seats per trainset, with just one accessible seat for passengers with diminished mobility per prepare 
 
The S-114 – an improve of the 104 fashions – options an indoor public deal with system and each outside and indoor show screens. Carriages are outfitted with unbiased air-con techniques within the driver’s cab and passenger berths; reclining and adjustable seats, and 4 bogs – with one tailored to individuals with diminished mobility. The trains additionally characteristic baggage racks contained in the passenger lounges, outfitted with anti-theft safety, and overhead roof racks. 

The Avant 114 trains function on the Madrid–Segovia–Valladolid high-speed line, in addition to on high-speed providers from Madrid to Puertollano and from Barcelona to Lérida. 

Two Talgo 250 high-speed trains at Barcelona railway station. These are Renfe Class 130 trains are nicknamed Patitos. TGV Eurostar.
The Renfe Class 130 is nicknamed Patitos, or ducklings, as a result of form of its nostril. Credit score: Lena Maximova/Shutterstock

7. Renfe Talgo 250: 250km/h (Spain) 

Alvia is Spanish operator Renfe’s second-fastest long-distance high-speed rail service. The route makes use of Talgo 250 rolling inventory, with the latest iteration being the Renfe Class 730, or S-730, manufactured by Talgo and Bombardier in 2012. 

The S-730s, nicknamed ‘Patitos’ in Spain from the native phrase for ‘ducklings’, are twin gauge, twin voltage, and hybrid trains. An up to date variant of the Renfe Class 130, Patitos can function utilizing both electrical or diesel energy on each Commonplace and Iberian gauge railways, in a position to change gauge at low velocity with out stopping utilizing Talgo’s RD variable gauge system. 

Every 186m trainset can attain 250km/h and contains 13 vehicles – two electrical energy vehicles, two diesel-power vehicles, and 9 Talgo VII tilting passenger coaches with a complete of 265 seats. The passenger coaches are divided into six second-class coaches, two first-class coaches, and a eating automotive. 

The Patitos function on Alia routes the place sections should not electrified, due to their hybrid-power configuration, together with high-speed providers from Madrid to Coruña, Ferrol, Vigo, Pontevedra, Lugo, and Badajoz. 

A Siemens Velaro Eurostar e320 travelling through France.
A Eurostar e320 high-speed prepare on the LGV Nord, the North European high-speed railway line. Credit score: olrat/Shutterstock

6. Eurostar Velaro: 300km/h (France/UK/Belgium/Netherlands) 

The British Rail Class 374, additionally known as the Eurostar e320, is an electrical multiple-unit passenger prepare used on Eurostar providers. The sixteen-car trains, which have a capability of 900 passengers, function throughout the Eurostar community on providers from London to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. 

The e320 is a part of the Velaro household, constructed by Siemens at its Krefeld facility in Germany. With a traction energy of 16,000kW, the Eurostar e320 has a most working velocity of 320km/h. It makes use of eight equivalent however unbiased traction converter models and 64 axles, of which 32 are pushed. Its traction system is designed to function on 25kV AC and 1.5kV/3kV DC voltage techniques. 

Getting into service in 2015, the Eurostar e320 is provided with a regenerative braking system, a rheostatic brake system, and a pneumatic brake system. Additionally it is fitted with particular hearth extinguishing gear and fireproof doorways and is designed to be operable for half-hour utilizing its onboard energy to exit a tunnel within the occasion of a fireplace – significantly essential as Eurostar providers journey by the channel tunnel. 

The Eurostar e320 roof is provided with eight pantographs for coping with Europe’s totally different energy techniques and phone line varieties throughout the Eurostar community. 

An Italo AGV 575 sitting at a train station
An Italo AGV 575 sitting on the platform at Santa Maria Novella station in Florence, Italy. Credit score: Nickolay Almayev/Shutterstock

5. Italo AGV: 300km/h (Italy) 

Constructed by Alstom, the primary buyer for the AGV (from the French Automotrice à grande vitesse) was Italian open-access operator Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), buying and selling below the identify Italo within the nation. The AGV 575 is a non-tilting, electrical multiple-unit prepare that may attain 360 km/h and has an operational velocity of as much as 300 km/h. 

Privately-owned NVT makes use of 25 AGV 575 trains throughout a lot of its routes in Italy, together with the Turin–Milan–Bologna, Rome–Venice, and Bologna–Florence–Rome–Naples routes. The AGV 575 entered service in April 2012 and was touted on the time as probably the most trendy prepare in Europe, with 98% of its parts recyclable, and its lifecycle price and electrical consumption 15% lower than that of shut rivals. 

The AGV is powered by the Onix traction system, which contains 6.5kV IGBT energy modules, a 3,600v energy bus, and everlasting magnet motors. The traction system is built-in under the physique shell of the vehicles, which saves area and allows it to hold 20% extra passengers. Every motor axle is powered by a person Onix energy inverter. 

Constructed at Alstom services in Savigliano, Italy and La Rochelle, France, the seven-car trains operated by Italo are 132m lengthy, and the eleven-car configuration measures 200m. The AGV options massive inside compartments, huge gangways, massive window surfaces and an HVAC system. Passenger services embrace Wi-Fi, onboard web and stay tv. A 39-seat cinema automotive on the prepare offers leisure to the passengers onboard.  

A Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed train at Milan Central Station
A Trenitalia ETR1000, or Frecciarossa, at Milano Centrale Railway Station. Credit score: Zigres/Shutterstock

4. Trenitalia Frecciarossa: 300km/h (Italy) 

Italian state railway operator Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa, or ETR1000, was co-developed as a three way partnership between Hitachi Rail Italy and Alstom. The most recent model of the ‘Purple Arrow’ after the ETR500, the ETR1000 can be working in Spain. Non-public high-speed rail operator Iryo additionally makes use of 20 S109 trainsets on its routes, that are derived from the ETR1000.  

Reportedly developed in response to Italo, a non-public high-speed rail operator in Italy, the ETR1000 trainsets carry 457 passengers in eight-car non-articulated 200-metre trains, with an engineered most velocity of 400km/h. 

In operation, the trains hit 300km/h however throughout testing in 2015 one of many ETR1000 units reached 389km/h. 50 trainsets had been constructed, however one is at the moment out of operation following the Livraga derailment. 

On 6 February 2020, an ETR1000 working the primary service of the day was concerned in a high-speed derailment at Livraga, on the Milan-Bologna high-speed line. The incident precipitated the demise of the 2 prepare drivers and the damage of 31 individuals. It’s the solely railway accident thus far on the Italian high-speed rail community. 

A Siemens Velaro Renfe class 103 sat at a train station.
A Renfe Class 103, a part of the Siemens Velaro household, at Zaragoza-Delicias station. Credit score: Yuri Zhuck/Getty Photographs

3. Renfe AVE: 310km/h (Spain) 

The Renfe Class 103 is a high-speed prepare that Spanish state-run operator Renfe makes use of for its AVE high-speed service. The trains, also referred to as Collection 103 or S103, are manufactured by Siemens as a part of the Velaro household. 

Spanish high-speed rail started operation in 1992 when the primary line was opened, connecting the cities of Madrid, Córdoba and Seville. Since then, the community has unfold to attach the nation’s main cities, in addition to worldwide connections. It has additionally opened as much as open-access operators, creating an extremely aggressive high-speed rail market. 

26 trainsets run on the 621km Barcelona–Madrid high-speed railway, carrying as much as 404 passengers at speeds as much as 310 km/h. In 2006, an S103 achieved a report high velocity of 403.7km/h, a Spanish report velocity for rail autos. 

Apparently, the 8-car configuration that Renfe operates is definitely two equivalent half-trains of 4 coaches. Every part has an unbiased energy system, aside from the lively pantograph and a excessive voltage line that runs alongside the size of your complete prepare. 

The top coaches are cut up between the driving force’s cab and passenger seating, with glass screens separating the 2. This enables passengers the identical views as the driving force – however the driver can flip these opaque if most popular. 

The front of three SNCF TGV trains sat at a train station
TGV Duplex and Reseau fashions operated by SNCF at Gare de Lyon station in Paris, France. Credit score: Franck Camhi/Shutterstock

2. SCNCF TGV: 320km/h (France) 

The Prepare à Grande Vitesse, or TGV, is iconic. Initially working on Europe’s first high-speed railway in France, the pioneer of high-speed rail in Europe has damaged information for high speeds, repeatedly, since its inception. 

In 1981, TGV Sud-Est trainset quantity 16 set a report velocity of 380km/h. Simply shy of a decade later in 1990, a modified TGV Atlantique 325 prepare recorded a brand new report velocity of 515.3km/h. This report was smashed in 2007, when a Modified TGV POS, fitted with two powered bogies just like the AGV prototype, hit 574.8kh/h, the present world report. 

Manufactured by Alstom and operated by French operator SNCF in the principle, in on a regular basis operation the TGV Duplex, Réseau, POS and Euroduplex fashions run at a high observe velocity of 320km/h in France. 

The SNCF TGV Community extends outdoors France, immediately linking to Italy, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Open-access operators additionally hyperlink France to different international locations utilizing TGV trainsets. TGV Lyria runs to Switzerland and Thalys/Eurostar to the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Additional afield, TGV trainsets function within the US, Spain, Italy, Morocco, China and South Korea, 

The most recent mannequin of TGV, TGV-M, was unveiled in 2021. In July 2018, SNCF positioned a €2.7bn order for 100 TGV-M trainsets, then known as the Avelia Horizon. With a proposed most functionality of 350km/h, the TGV-M is predicted to enter service with SNCF in 2024. 

A DB ICE 3 at the platform of Frankfurt Station
A Deutsche Bahn ICE 3 prepare stopped at Frankfurt am Primary Hauptbahnhof (Frankfurt Central Station). Credit score: Kapi Ng/Shutterstock

1. DB ICE: 350km/h (Germany) 

The ICE 3, or Intercity-Specific 3, is a household of high-speed electrical multiple-unit trains manufactured by Siemens and Bombardier. The ICE 3 is operated primarily by Deutsche Bahn (DB), but additionally by Dutch Railway operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS). 

The flagship of high-speed rail in Germany, the household contains lessons 403, 406, 407 and 408, that are often called ICE 3, ICE 3M, New ICE 3 and ICE 3neo respectively. 

Three multisystem trains, often called ICE Worldwide, are in use within the Netherlands. ICE 3 trainsets additionally function on cross-border routes to the Netherlands, Belgium and France 

ICE 3 trains function on the German nationwide most high-speed railway observe velocity of 320km/h in Germany, however have pipped their competitors on this record as a result of the category 403 is authorised to run at speeds of 330km/h on the high-speed line between Frankfurt and Cologne to beat delays. The ICE 3 Lessons 403 and 406 hit high speeds of 368km/h on trial runs. 

The ICE 3M/F impressed Siemens’ Velaro trainsets, that are utilized in Germany, Belgium, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, China, Russia, and Turkey. Egyptian Nationwide Railways has additionally ordered 41 eight-car ICE trainsets. 

Click on right here to learn our record of the quickest high-speed trains on the planet.




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