Timeline of high-speed rail

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This is a timeline of high-speed rail, focusing on speed evolution of the transport.

Big picture

Time period Development summary
19th century Railways originate in Europe during the Industrial Revolution, with earliest events taking blace in the United Kingdom. Since the very beginning, the speed of passengers trains is an essential argument to compete, not necessarily with other transport modes but among the different companies. The speed on rails also constitute an evidence of technological development of the most advanced countries at that time.[1]
1930s Trains designed for commercial operation between cities average 133 km/h.[2]
1950s Japanese railway engineers begin their own extensive research and development on high speed rail, aiming to improve rail transportation for the densely populated and rapidly growing Tokyo–Osaka corridor. In France, tests conducted by the French National Railway show that speeds over 300 km/h could be achieved with powerful electric locomotives.[3]
1964 < The Japanese Shinkansen becomes the first high speed system in the world, marking a new era of modern transport. Japan is the first country in the world to build a dedicated line for new high speed trains.[4]
1970s–1990s High–speed rail sees a great adoption in Europe, with France leading with its TGV. Magnetic levitation (Maglev) technology is first tested in the 1970s.[5]
2000s< High–speed rail is adopted late in China, yet the country quickly raises as the worldwide top with the largest network. In Europe, Spain, which also saw a late introduction, has notwithstanding topped the continent with the current largest network worldwide second only to China.

Visual data

High–Speed Rail development, 1964-autumn 2009 (kms). Japan shows early development. The two countries with the largest networks currently, China and Spain, had a late introduction
High–speed rail under construction, 2009-12 (kms).

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Present day country/location
1803 Model British inventor and mining engineer Richard Trevithick develops the first high-pressure steam engine as well as the first full scale working railway steam locomotive, the ‘Puffing Devil,’ which is widely recognised as the first demonstration of transportation powered by steam. It successfully carries six passengers to the next nearby village travelling at a speed of 8 km/h.[6] United Kingdom
1812 Model English manufacturer Matthew Murray builds the first commercially viable steam locomotive.[2] United Kingdom
1829 Speed English engineer George Stephenson develops his “Rocket” locomotive, which reaches 50 km/h, representing a true high speed consideration for railways at the time.[1][2][6] United Kingdom
1845 Line The British Great Western Railway introduces the fastest rail service in the world with its London to Exeter expresses, which averages 70kph.[7] United Kingdom
1854 Speed Railways reach 130 km/h.[1]
1891 Engineer Károly Zipernowsky proposes a high-speed line ViennaBudapest, bound for electric railcars at 250km/h.[8] Austria, Hungary
1899 Test Early experiments in high-speed rail are conducted in Germany. Railway between Marienfelde and Zossen, in length of 72 km, is electrified by Prussian state railway and ten electrical and engineering firms. After four years of experimenting rails would manage to achieve a speed of 210.2 km/h though this train would not enter the regular service.[9][6] Germany
1903 (October) Model The Siemens & Halske-equipped railcar obtains speed of 206.7 km/h on 23th October, and on 27 October the AEG-equipped railcar achieves 210.2 km/h.[10][1] Germany
1933 Model Diesel-powered “Fliegender Hamburger” enters regular service between Berlin and Hamburg with a top speed of 160 km/h.[7][9] Germany
1934 Model The Denver Zephyr averages 134 km/h[7] and peaks at 185 km/h.[9][6] United States
1938 Model The steam traction, LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard high speed runs on Britain’s East Coast Main Line at a speed of 203km/h.[7][6] United Kingdom
1938 HSR line The Italian ETR200 electric train serves the Bologna-Rome-Naples route at 200 km/h.[7][9][6] Italy
1957 Model Engineers at the private Odakyu Electric Railway in Greater Tokyo Area launch the Odakyu 3000 series SE electric multiple unit EMU. This unit sets a world record for narrow gauge trains at 145 km/h.[11] Japan
1964 (October 1) HSR line Japan opens the world's first high-speed rail line, between Tokyo and Osaka, in time for the 1964 Olympics. The Shinkansen (新幹線, new trunk line) is the first high speed system in the world.[1] The new service operates at speeds up to 210 km/h and average over 110 km/h.[3][6] Japan
1965 (June) In Europe, high-speed rail begins during the International Transport Fair in Munich, when German Federal Railways operate fast trains with 200 km/h between Munich and Augsburg.[5] Germany
1965 Model French engineer Jean Bertin invents the Aérotrain, a hovercraft monorail train, and builds the first prototype.[5] France
1976 HSR line The first high speed rail service is introduced in Great Britain, with diesel-powered High Speed Trains or HSTs running at up to 200km/h.[7] United Kingdom
1978 HSR line Italy is credited with Europe's first high-speed line, the "Direttissima", opening between Rome and Florence. The service opens with a top speed of 250 km/h.[3][12] Italy
1981 (September 27) HSR line The National French Railway Company starts the operation of the first high speed line TGV (French: Train à Grande Vitesse, "high-speed train"), between Paris and Lyon, at 260km/h.[1][3] Since then, France would become the European leader of the high speed rail movement.[12] France
1981 Speed record The TGV reaches the record speed of 380 km/hour.[13] France
1988 Test West Germany’s Intercity Experimental train reaches 406.9 km/h, a record that would become the predecessor of all Intercity-Express trains on the Deutsche Bahn.[6] Germany
1989 Model The TGV "Atlantique" becomes the first train to operate regularly at 300 km/h.[1] France
1990 The Community of European Railways proposes an interconnected high–speed rail network.[5] Europe
1991 (June 2) HSR line High-speed rail in Germany is established with the introduction of the Intercity-Express train at 320 km/h.[3][14][15] Germany
1992 HSR line The AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) iniciates with the MadridSeville service opened on dedicated track. In spite of its late introduction, the Spanish high speed railway system would become the second in the world only to China.[14][1][4][16] Spain
1993 Speed The Japanese Jōetsu Shinkansen reaches 425.0 km/h.[6] Japan
1994 HSR line Eurostar high–speed rail service starts operating, linking directly London to Continental Europe via the Channel Tunnel.[17] Europe
1997 HSR line High-speed rail in Belgium is introduced with the opening of the HSL 1 to France, cutting the Eurostar LondonBrussels journey time.[18][1] Belgium
2003 HSR line The first section the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (re-branded "High Speed 1" in 2006) opens. It is the first purpose-built high-speed rail line in the United Kingdom.[1][19][20] United Kingdom
2003 Maglev Japan Railway’s magnetic levitation maglev line reaches 581km/h.[21] Japan
2004 (April) Maglev The Shanghai maglev train starts operations.[6] China
2004 HSR line Korea Train Express (KTX) high–speed rail system is launched in South Korea.[1] South Korea
2007 Speed record France’s LGV Est travelling at speeds of 574.8 km/h wins the prize for the fastest high-speed train in the world.[1] France
2007 (january 5) HSR line Taiwan High Speed Rail begins operation with first line between Taipei and Kaohshiung, at speeds up to 300 km/h.[22][1] Taiwan
2008 HSR line High-speed rail in China is introduced with the first line opened between Beijing and Tianjin.[1][23] China
2009 HSR line High-speed rail in Turkey is introduced with the first line between Ankara and Eskişehir.[1][24] Turkey
2009 (December 13) HSR line High-speed rail is introduced in the Netherlands with first service by Thalys operating on the HSL-Zuid.[1] Netherlands
2009 Organization High Speed Two Ltd is established; with aims was at developing proposals for a high speed railway link between London and the West Midlands.[5] United Kingdom
2010 Statistics High speed trains worldwide carry 250 billion passenger km per annum.[4]
2014 Maglev Construction of the first intercity maglev line begins, netween Tokyo and Nagoya. It is anticipated to open in 2027.[4] Japan
2015 (April) Speed record Japan Railway’s magnetic levitation maglev line breaks world speed record with 600km/h test run.[2][21] Japan
2015 Statistics High speed lines worldwide extend over almost 30,000 kilometres.[1]
2016 Statistics China has 22,000 kilometres of high-speed rail as of end December 2016, accounting for two-thirds of the world's total.[25][26] China
2017 Maglev The Shanghai Maglev Maglev wins the prize as the fastest high-speed train in the world, with a top operational speed of 430km/h and average speed of 251 km/h.[6] China

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

What the timeline is still missing

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] For visual data: [7] [8] [9] For visual data: [10] [11] [12] Book: (table included) Book (see page 86):[13] Book: [14] Book: [15] Book: [16] Book: [17] with table TO MAKE GRAPHS FROM PAGE 18 [18] [19]

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 "HIGH SPEED RAIL HISTORY". uic.org. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The History (and Future) of High Speed Rail". blog.midwestind.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Pérez Henríquez,, Blas Luis; Deakin, Elizabeth. High-Speed Rail and Sustainability: Decision-making and the Political Economy of Investment. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 High-Speed Rail and Sustainability: Decision-making and the political economy of investment (Blas Luis Pérez Henríquez, Elizabeth Deakin ed.). Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Khabbaz, Hadi; Fatahi, Behzad. "How to Overcome Geotechnical Challenges in Implementing High Speed Rail Systems in Australia". researchgate.net. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 "The ten fastest trains in the world… 1801 to present.". smartrailworld.com. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Gourvish, Terry. "The High Speed Rail Revolution: History and Prospects" (PDF). Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  8. "E n d o f a n E p o c h & N e w S t a r t". trains-worldexpresses.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "High-Speed Rail History and Facts". trainhistory.net. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  10. Sith Sastrasinh, "Electrical Train Marienfelde–Zossen in 1901", 21 January 2000, WorldRailFans. Accessed 23 January 2013.
  11. "The Blue Ribbon and Laurel Awards". japaneserailwaysociety.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 O'Toole, Randal. Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What To Do About It. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  13. "THE CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH-SPEED TRAIN LINES". sncf-reseau.fr. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Fang, Youtong; Zhang, Yuehong (Helen). China's High-Speed Rail Technology: An International Perspective. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  15. High-Speed Rail and Sustainability: Decision-making and the political economy of investment (Blas Luis Pérez Henríquez, Elizabeth Deakin ed.). 
  16. Albalate, Daniel; Bel i Queralt, Germa. The Economics and Politics of High-speed Rail: Lessons from Experiences Abroad. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  17. International high-speed rail systems: hearing before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, first session, April 19, 2007, Volume 4. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  18. Lawton, Thomas C. Strategic Management in Aviation: Critical Essays. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  19. Delivering a Sustainable Railway: A 30-year Strategy for the Railways? : Tenth Report of Session 2007-08 : Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence (Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Transport Committee ed.). Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  20. Railway Development: Impacts on Urban Dynamics (Frank Bruinsma, Eric Pels, Hugo Priemus, Piet Rietveld, Bert van Wee ed.). 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Japan's maglev train breaks world speed record with 600km/h test run". theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  22. Pérez Henríquez, Blas Luis; Deakin, Elizabeth. High-Speed Rail and Sustainability: Decision-making and the Political Economy of Investment. 
  23. Zhang, Guangrui. Green Book of China's Tourism 2011: China Tourism Development Analysis and Forecast. 
  24. "Turkey uses resources wisely to develop rail network". globalrailwayreview.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  25. "China's high speed railway exceeds 20,000 km". chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  26. "China to start construction on 35 railway projects: report". news.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 28 December 2017.