The world’s fastest train doesn’t run in the United States

The world’s fastest domestic train travels at 620 kph, enough to take a speeding high-speed train — Beijing to Shanghai at 150 kph — and then take that train all the way back.

That’s more than double the average speed for passenger rail in North America and Europe, according to the Speed Coalition.

President Xi Jinping has used the past couple of years to sweep away many of China’s old industrial laws, and then finally launched one of the world’s highest-speed trains in early January.

The new service will use existing rail lines, with plans to expand to a network of 4,000 kilometers.

The Shanghai-to-Dezhou line, which could eventually link to Beijing, will take 18 minutes longer than the 10.28-hour average speed for rail passenger travel in North America, according to the Speed Coalition.

China’s new 520 kph train is a record-breaking pacesetter, but this is just the beginning. Time-lapse videos of trains going at 400 kph, and thousands of kilometers per hour, show China’s government is quietly laying a network of high-speed rail systems as the economy grows — and as policy makers look for new sources of high-value, cheap labor.

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