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)
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)
- See Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Trains for the timetable and prices.
- Recommended tour: Prince William's Footprint: Beijing and Shanghai via Bullet Train
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: US$151 (CNY1,039); a flight ticket:US$194 (CNY1,330)
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
- Average speed: 268.75 kph (167 mph)
- Price for a second class seat: US$18 (CNY122); a flight ticket: US$62 (CNY423)
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)
- See Shanghai – Nanjing High-Speed Trains for the timetable and prices.
- Recommended tour: 5-Day Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou Bullet Train Tour
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: US$68 (CNY464); a flight ticket: US$73 (CNY500)
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
- See Wuhan – Guangzhou Bullet Trains for the timetable and price.
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: US$59 (CNY403.5); a flight ticket: currently no flight
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)
- Recommended tour: 1-Day Ice and Snow Fairyland Tour in Winter
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$12 (CNY79.5); a bus ticket: US$10 (CNY65)
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.
- See Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Trains for the timetable and prices.
- Also read Guangzhou to Hong Kong Transport and Ports for details about transportation 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: US$8 (CNY50); taxi fare: US$25 (CNY169)
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.
- Read more information about the Shanghai Maglev Train.
- See The Top 10 Things to Do in Shanghai for travel ideas.
- Recommended tour: 3-Day Essence of Shanghai and Watertown Tour
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)
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
- Recommended tour: 2-Day Essence of Xi'an Tour
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)
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.
- Recommended tour: 4-Day Harbin Ice Wonderland and Short Ski Tour
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)
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.
- See Beijing – Tianjin Bullet Train for the timetable and prices.
- Recommended tour: 2-Day Beijing Boutique Tour
Travel on China's High-Speed Trains
If you want to enjoy a Shanghai tour and China's high-speed trains, please see the following tours for inspiration:
- 3-Day Essence of Shanghai and Watertown Tour - take advantage of the 144-hour visa-free transit policy
- Shanghai and Its Neighbors Tour by High-Speed Train - a 5-day tour to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing
- The Golden Triangle - 8 Days Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai Private Tour
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.