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The World's Longest High-Speed Rail Networks

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Niall McCarthy

Last year, it was announced that a $929 million grant for California's high-speed rail system was being cancelled in a serious blow to U.S. high-speed rail ambitions. The U.S. already trails much of the developed world in high-speed rail, lagging far behind China and Europe when it comes to kilometres of operational track. In line with its meteoric economic ascent, China has made considerable progress in building a high-speed rail network over the past 15 years. It had just over 35,000km in operation in February 2020 according to UIC, The Worldwide Railway Organization and that accounts for about two thirds of high-speed track worldwide.

Japan was the first country to develop high-speed railway lines and today, its Shinkansen or bullet train operates along 3,000km of track. Spain has a similarly long network at 3,330km while France and Germany have 2,734km and 1,571km respectively. At the start of this year, the U.S. only had 735km of track in operation, a figure unlikely to rise any time soon.

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