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

Written by FabioUpdated Jul. 5, 2021

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: US$84 (CNY576); a flight ticket: US$120 (CNY820)
the Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City, Beijing

This railway line follows a north-south trajectory. Starting from Beijing, your journey will take you across two of China's longest rivers - the Yellow River and the Yangtze River - before reaching the vibrant destination of 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: 7½ h; if by air: 3½ h
  • Average speed: 275 kph (171 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: US$151 (CNY1,039); a flight ticket:US$194 (CNY1,330)
ShenzhenShenzhen night view

This train route is a crucial segment of the world's longest high-speed railway network, seamlessly linking North China, Central China, and South China. The diverse landscapes along the way change every hour, offering a captivating visual journey.

While spending 7½ hours on a train might seem lengthy, it proves to be a cost-effective choice for your China trip. Additionally, the unique experience of traversing more than 2,200 km (1,367 mi) by train adds a special and memorable dimension to your travel adventure.

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: 59 min; if by air: 1 h 10 min
  • Average speed: 268.75 kph (167 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: US$23 (CNY162); a flight ticket: US$62 (CNY423)
ShanghaiThe Bund, Shanghai

Shanghai and Nanjing, being neighboring cities, boast a convenient high-speed train journey lasting approximately 1 hour. Similarly, Hangzhou and Suzhou are also seamlessly connected within the 1-hour high-speed train network, enabling convenient travel between these four cities.

The fastest high-speed train can whisk you from Shanghai to Nanjing in just one hour, surpassing the speed of a flight (which takes 70 minutes). Considering the additional time it takes to reach airports from city centers and the higher cost of air travel, opting for a high-speed train becomes a compelling choice. With travel time efficiency and cost-effectiveness, there's no reason not to choose the high-speed train for these city connections.

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 40 min; if by air: 1 h 40 min
  • Average speed: 265.2 kph (165 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: US$65 (CNY464); a flight ticket: US$70 (CNY500)
Hubu AlleyHubu Alley Snack Street

The predominant terrain along this train route is hilly, offering passengers a scenic journey through picturesque landscapes. One distinctive feature of this route is the abundance of bridges. As the train traverses the hilly terrain, these bridges contribute to the unique and visually captivating experience, making the journey not only efficient but also visually stimulating.

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;
  • Average speed: 258.3 kph (161 mph)
  • Price for a second class seat: US$57 (CNY403.5); a flight ticket: currently no flight
Yabuli Skiing Center Yabuli Skiing Center, Harbin

As the inaugural high-speed railway line in Northeast China, this route proves to be exceptionally convenient for passengers, particularly those arriving from Japan and Korea, who intend to embark on international cruises departing from Dalian Port. The accessibility of this high-speed railway enhances the overall travel experience, providing a seamless connection for international travelers to reach their cruise departure point with ease.

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: US$11 (CNY74.5); a bus ticket: US$10 (CNY65)
Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen railway line serves as a vital link connecting the two bustling cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China. Notably, both cities offer convenient train and bus routes to Hong Kong, further facilitating seamless transportation options for travelers moving between these dynamic urban centers and the vibrant destination of 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: US$8 (CNY50); taxi fare: US$25 (CNY169)
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: US$35 (CNY239)
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: US$86 (CNY587); a flight ticket: US$99 (CNY680)
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: US$8 (CNY54); a bus ticket: US$12 (CNY82)
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.

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.

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