The European Union defines High speed trains, also called Bullet trains for their appearance, with a speed limit of up to 250 kilometers per hour; while in the United States, Federal Railroad Administration identifies speed above 177 kilometers per hour for high speed trains.
However, a few high speed trains run at more than 300 kilometers an hour and in fact, a French high speed train ran at a record breaking speed of 574.8 kilometer per hour in 2007.
Then, there are German Transrapid trains that are based on magnetic levitation technology and run without wheels. These trains can accelerate at a tremendous speed of 500 kilometers per hour.
Though high speed trains have cut down on travel time between important destinations in many developed economies, fatal accident aboard is the downside of high-speed train technology that have claimed many lives to date.
A high speed train crashed in the northern German town of Eschede in June 2008, killing at least 90 people, including many children. More than 300 were injured in what is considered the worst train wreck in post-war German history.
In yet another deadly train disaster in Germany, at least 23 people were killed when a Transrapid high-speed train in the northern German region of Emsland near the town of Lathen smashed into a maintenance vehicle and its two-man crew at a speed of at least 200 km per hour while on a test run in September 2006, authorities told media after the accident.
More recently, a collision between two high speed trains in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, eastern China on July 23, 2011, killed at least 39 people and injured 210 passengers, raising concerns about the safety of the country’s fast-growing high speed rail network, Reuters reported. China plans to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed railway by 2012, more than the rest of the world combined.
Start the slideshow to learn more about some of the high speed trains in the world.