This page presents railroad records including fastest, longest, and heaviest trains in the U.S. and worldwide.
More railroad records: Early Railroads, Locomotives, Bridges & Tunnels,
Routes & Track, Train Wrecks
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FASTEST TRAINS & SPEED RECORDS
What is the world's record train speed?
The fastest train speed ever recorded was 361 mph (581 km/h),
set on December 2, 2003 by Central Japan Railway's MLX01
superconducting maglev at the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line.
What is the world's fastest train speed recorded on conventional wheels?
A TGV POS trainset achieved a record speed of 357mph (574.8
km/hr) on the LGV Est route on April 3, 2007. The train consisted of
two modified power cars and three modified passenger cars. The
train's combined horsepower was 26,300, more than double a standard
TGV trainset. The test occurred on an 87 mile stretch between Prény
and Champagne-Ardenne, a section with gentle curves and descending
grades. Wheel diameter was increased 19%, catenary voltage raised
25%, catenary tension increased 60%, and superelevation (banking)
What is the fastest train speed recorded in North America?
In 1966, the New York Central Railroad mounted surplus General
Electric J47-19 jet engines (from a B36 bomber) on the roof of a
modified Budd commuter car. The test train, named the M-497 Black
Beetle, reached a U.S. record speed of 184 mph (296 km/h) on
conventional track (with jointed rail) between between Butler,
Indiana and Stryker, Ohio. The test provided the NYC with
information about high speed stresses on conventional railroad track
and railcars. Jet power was considered commercially unpractical and
the car was returned to commuter service on Metro-North Railroad in
What is the fastest speed recorded in North America by a
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) TurboTrain was an
experimental gas turbine train operated first by the New Haven Railroad,
then Penn Central and Amtrak. The TurboTrain was used in revenue service
between New York's Grand Central and Boston's Back Bay from 1968 to 1972
at speeds up to 100mph (161 km/h), then ran elsewhere on Amtrak until
1974 and officially removed from service in 1976. Prior to entering
revenue service, a three-car TurboTrain (two power cars and single
intermediate car) set a speed record of 170.8mph (275 km/h) between New
Brunswick and Trenton, New Jersey on December 20, 1967.
What is the fastest speed recorded in North America by a full
trainset of a production-built train?
The North American speed record for a full production-built
trainset was set by Amtrak's Acela Express. In late 1999, prior to
entering revenue service in 2000, full trainsets were tested at a
maximum speed of 168mph (270 km/h) near Kingston, Rhode Island. In late
September 2012, in preparation for raising maximum speeds to 160mph (257
km/h), Amtrak conducted a series of tests on four sections of the
Northeast Corridor: Perryville to Wilmington, Trenton to New Brunswick,
Westerly to Cranston, and Attleboro to Readville. Again the test train
was a full 6-car Aclea trainset (including two power cars) plus a
geometry car. Officially these 2012 tests attained a maximum speed of
165mph, but unofficial reports indicate some test runs eclipsed the
prior 168mph record.
What is the maximum speed of the world's fastest scheduled train?
Since 2008, China's fastest high speed rail routes have
operated at a maximum speed of 217 mph (350 km/h). The
Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway was to open in June 2011 with a
maximum speed of 236 mph (380 km/h). However, following the ousting
of China's Railway Minister in February 2011, train speeds
nationwide were capped at 217 mph (350 km/h) for safety and cost
reasons. Speeds were further limited to 186 mph (300 km/h) as of
August 2011, following the deadly collision of two high speed trains
at Wenzhou, China.
What is the maximum speed of the fastest scheduled
train in North America?
The maximum speech attained on a regularly scheduled train in North
America is 150 mph (241 km/h) on Amtrak's Acela Express. This speed is
attained only on two sections in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
where electrification was added in 2000. The maximum speed elsewhere
on the Northeast Corridor is 135 mph (217 km/h) due to aging
catenary infrastructure. The Acela Express attained a maximum speed of
168 mph (270 km/h) near Kingston, Rhode Island, during a 1999 test
prior to revenue service, An effort is underway to
upgrade catenary and raise the maximum speed to 160 mph (257 km/h)
along 24 miles between Trenton and New Brunswick, New Jersey.
LONGEST & HEAVIEST TRAINS
What is the longest and heaviest train ever operated in the world?
The world's longest and heaviest train operated on June 21,
2001, between Newman and Port Headland in Western Australia. The
train operated 170 miles (274 km) with 682 loaded iron ore cars. The
train weighed 99,734 tons and measured 4.57 miles (7.35 km) in
length. The train was run as a test of distributed power, with a
combined eight GE AC6000 locomotives in five locations from front to
rear of the train. BHP typically runs ore trains of about half this
length, the longest regularly operated trains in the world.
What is the longest and heaviest train ever operated in North
The longest and heaviest train in North America occurred on
November 15, 1967. The Norfolk & Western Railroad ran a 500 car coal
train plus caboose, weighing 48,170 tons and stretching 4.06 miles
(6.53 km), a distance of 159 miles (256 km) from Iaeger, West
Virginia to Portsmouth, Ohio. The train was powered by six 3600
horsepower diesels, three in the front and three in the middle. The
train served as a test of possible train lengths and weights, as
well as the reliability of radio control to distributed locomotives.
The test was generally successful except for intermittent losses of
radio signal and a broken coupler that occurred when restarting
after a crew change at Williamson, West Virginia.
What is the longest scheduled passenger train in the world?
The world's longest regularly scheduled trains are found on
the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and the Russian Far East.
Through-service from Moscow to Pyongyang, North Korea, represents
the maximum distance (6,322 miles or 10,175 kilometers) journeyed
without changing trains.
What is the longest scheduled passenger train in North
The longest regularly scheduled train in North America is Via
Rail Canada's Canadian between Montreal and Vancouver, a distance of
2,775 miles (4,466 kilometers). The longest train in the USA is
Amtrak's Texas Eagle between Chicago and Los Angeles via San
Antonio, a distance of 2,728 miles (4,390 kilometers).