While we sit and wait for all the wild hyperloop plans to materialize at some point in the future, China, in the meantime, has relaunched a fleet of the fastest bullet trains you can ride today. The new trains, named Fuxing (which means “Regeneration”), reach a maximum speed of 248 mph and will operate at 217 mph on average, shaving an hour off the current five-and-a-half-hour journey between Beijing and Shanghai.
Fuxing’s speeds aren’t exactly a brand-new breakthrough. China’s previous generation of bullet trains, the “Harmony” trains introduced in 2008, also once operated at 217 mph. But after a train crash that killed 40 people in 2011, those trains were capped at a maximum speed of 186 mph.
The Fuxing trains, unveiled in June and in operation starting this week, feature an improved monitoring system that can slow the train automatically when abnormal conditions or emergencies arise. They’re also fitted with more advanced shock and crash energy absorption equipment.
Asia and Europe currently operate some of the fastest trains in the world, including the Shanghai Maglev, which has a maximum speed of 267 mph and an average speed of around 150 mph, and Italy’s AGV, which has a maximum speed of about 220 mph.
By comparison, the fastest train in the U.S. is Amtrak’s Acela Express running from Boston to Washington, D.C., hitting a maximum of 150 mph and an average of about 70 to 80 mph. Plans for new high-speed trains stateside are in the works, however, notably in the Midwest and up and down California.