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China's 10 Fastest Trains — World Records and Benefits for You

Shanghai Maglev trains are currently the fastest trains commercially operated in the world, with a top commercial speed of 431 kph (268 mph) and a top non-commercial speed of 501 kph (311 mph).

China's Beijing–Shanghai HSR holds the record for the fastest unmodified electric wheeled train, at a highest speed of 487 kph (303 mph), set in 2010 while not in commercial use.

The following are the top 10 fastest train trips in China, i.e. the fastest trains by average trip speed.

1. Beijing–Shanghai HSR — Fastest Trip

  • Distance: 1,318 km (819 mi)
  • Duration: 4 h and 48 min; if by air: 2 h 10 min
  • Average speed: 299 kph (186 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 553 yuan (83 USD); a flight ticket: 1,200 yuan (193 USD)
the Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City, Beijing

This railway line has a north–south trend. Departing from Beijing, you will cross the two longest rivers in China — the Yellow River and the Yangtze River — then arrive in Shanghai.

Beijing attractions: the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird's Nest)

Shanghai attractions: ancient water towns, traditional gardens, the highest building in China (Shanghai Tower)

2. Beijing–Shenzhen HSR — the Longest in the World

  • Distance: 2,203 km (1,369 mi)
  • Duration: 8 h; if by air: 3½ h
  • Average speed: 275 kph (171 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 936.5 (141 USD); a flight ticket: 2,000 yuan (301 USD)
ShenzhenShenzhen night view

This train route is part of the longest high-speed railway network in the world. The Shenzhen to Hong Kong section is not open yet. It connects North China, Central China, and South China so the landscapes on the way change every hour.

Although 8 hours on a train is quite a long time, it's a good choice to save money on your China trip. It's also a special experience to take a train traveling more than 2,200 km (1,367 mi) in distance.

Shenzhen attractions: Window of the World, the second highest building in China (Ping An Finance Center)

3. Shanghai–Nanjing HSR — Linking the Yangtze Delta Cities

  • Distance: 301 km (187 mi)
  • Duration: 1 h 7 min; if by air: 1 h 5 min; if by bus: 4 h
  • Average speed: 268.75 kph (167 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 139.5 yuan (22 USD); a flight ticket: 410 yuan (62 USD); a bus ticket: 88 yuan (13 USD)
ShanghaiThe Bund, Shanghai

Shanghai and Nanjing are two neighboring cities, and the journey duration is about 1 hour. Hangzhou and Suzhou are also within the 1-hour high-speed train route network. You can travel between these four cities conveniently.

Nanjing attractions: the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, Nanjing City Wall (with a history of over 600 years)

4. Wuhan–Guangzhou HSR — Linking Canton with Central China

  • Distance: 968 km (601 mi)
  • Duration: 3 h 39 min; if by air: 1 h 40 min
  • Average speed: 265.2 kph (165 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 463.5 yuan (75 USD); a flight ticket: 900 yuan (145 USD)
Hubu AlleyHubu Alley Snack Street

This train mostly goes through hilly landscapes and the main feature of this train route is that there are many bridges.

Wuhan attractions: Yellow Crane Tower, Hubu Alley, East Lake Park

Guangzhou attractions : Canton Tower (the highest TV tower), Chimelong Safari Park, Baiyun Mountain Park

5. Harbin–Dalian HSR — Linking the Top NE China Cities

  • Distance: 904 km (562 mi)
  • Duration: 3½ h; if by air: 1 h 45 min
  • Average speed: 258.3 kph (161 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 403.5 (65 USD); a flight ticket: 620 yuan (100 USD)
Yabuli Skiing Center Yabuli Skiing Center, Harbin

This is the first high-speed railway line in Northeast China. It's convenient for passengers (from Japan and Korea) who are taking an international cruise at Dalian Port.  

Harbin attractions: Ice and Snow World, Yabuli Skiing Center, Saint Sophia Cathedral

Dalian attractions: Tiger Beach, Xinghai Square (the biggest square in the world), Binhai Road (a beautiful seaside road)

6. Guangzhou–Shenzhen HSR — the Fastest Pearl River Delta Transport

  • Distance: 116 km (72 mi)
  • Duration: 29 minutes; if by bus: 2 h
  • Average speed: 242 kph (150 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 74.5 yuan (11 USD); a bus ticket: 60 yuan (9 USD)
Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park

Guangzhou–Shenzhen railway line connects these two popular cities in South China. These two cities also have convenient train and bus routes to Hong Kong.

7. The Shanghai Maglev — Central Shanghai to Pudong Airport in 8 Minutes!

  • Distance: 30 km (19 mi)
  • Duration: 8 min; if by taxi: 35 min
  • Average speed: 230 kph (143 mph)
  • Price for a single trip ticket: 50 yuan (8 USD); taxi fare: 120 yuan (19 USD)
Shanghai Maglev TrainShanghai Maglev Train

As the length of the Shanghai Maglev track is only 30 kilometers, the average speed of Shanghai Maglev trains is only 230 kph (143 mph). It's very convenient for passengers who need to catch a flight to Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

As the first magnetically levitated train service in the world, these trains don't have wheels! The construction began on March 1, 2001, and it was in service on January 4, 2003. 

8. Zhengzhou–Xi'an HSR — Quick Transport in the Ancient China Corridor

  • Distance: 455 km (283 mi)
  • Duration: 2 h 4 min; no direct flight.
  • Average speed: 227 kph (141 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 239 yuan (38 USD)
the Terracotta Armythe Terracotta Army, Xi'an

This railway connects Central China and West China. It's also part of the west–east route connecting East China and Northwest China.

Zhengzhou attractions: the Yellow River Park, Shaolin Kung Fu Temple, Zhengzhou Forest Park

Xi'an attractions: the Terracotta Army, Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter

9. Beijing–Harbin HSR — an Excellent Winter Tourism Option

  • Distance: 1,700 km (1,056 mi)
  • Duration: 7 h 52 min; if by air: 1 h 55 min
  • Average speed: 216 kph (134 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 541 yuan (87 USD); a flight ticket: 1,088 yuan (175 USD)
HarbinIce Sculpture Festival, Harbin

This high-speed railway is very popular for travelers in winter. People go to Harbin to enjoy the ice and snow world attraction, skiing, and the ice sculpture festival.

10. Beijing–Tianjin Intercity HSR — Best Cruise to Capital Transport

  • Distance: 115 km (71 mi) 
  • Duration: 33 min; if by bus: 1 h 30 min
  • Average speed: 209 kph (130 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: 65.5 yuan (10 USD); a bus ticket: 60 yuan (9 USD)
Tianjin PortTianjin Port

This train route is very convenient for travelers taking an international cruise at Tianjin Port. Compared to a bus journey, which takes about 2½ hours, a high-speed train is much more convenient.

China high speed railway map China HSR Network Map (Updated on: May, 2016). Click to enlarge.

Travel on China's High-Speed Trains

Xitang Water TownXitang Water Town

If you want to enjoy a Shanghai tour and China's high-speed trains, please see the following tours for inspiration:

If you want to experience the Shanghai Maglev Train and adjust the itinerary, we can tailor-make it for you. We can help you arrange your tour according to your interests and requirements.