What is the world's fastest passenger train?

The fastest train in regular commercial service is the Shanghai Maglev, which operates between Shanghai's Pudong Airport and the Longyang metro station on the city's outskirts.

At its top speed of 431 kmh the train takes less than nine seconds to travel a kilometre, and just over seven minutes to cover the 30-kilometre distance.

Maglev trains - a composite of "magnetic" and "levitation" - use an electromagnetic field to glide about 10 centimetres above the track, eliminating the drag caused by wheels.

Although they are fast, quiet and require less maintenance than traditional trains, maglev trains have not caught on more widely because building costs are much higher than even high-speed rail lines.

They also consume enormous amounts of energy, and they only make sense on lines with very high passenger numbers. Japan is planning a more ambitious maglev train, the Chuo Shinkansen, which will operate between Tokyo and Nagoya, scheduled to open in 2027, and eventually to Osaka.

Travelling at a maximum speed of 505 km/h, the train will take just over hour to cover the 400-kilometre distance.

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