Transport: Japan's trains take track record

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The Independent Online
There may be faster ways of travelling, but not on railway tracks. Japan's latest shinkansen bullet trains are now officially the fastest passenger carriages in the world, according to a global survey by Railway Gazette.

The 120-mile stretch from Hiroshima to Kokura takes only 44 minutes as Japanese travellers are propelled at more than 160mph on the shinkansen. The French TGV, for 15 years the world's speediest service, races along at a little more than 158mph from Lille to Paris.

Eurostar manages to claim third place, on its journey from Paris to Mons, where it clocks more than 130mph. Britain's fastest railway, Great North Eastern, takes sixth spot with its 190-mile trip from London to York which runs at an average speed of 112 mph. However, this title may soon slip away from the east-coast service. Chris Jackson, deputy editor of Railway Gazette, pointed out that Richard Branson's Virgin group had ordered trains that will run at 160 mph: "They are talking about it, but Virgin's West Coast service needs to upgrade a lot of track first," he said.

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