High-speed rail

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High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include 200 km/h (120 mph) for upgraded track and 250 km/h (160 mph) or faster for new track.[1] In Japan, Shinkansen lines run at speeds in excess of 260 km/h (160 mph) and are built using standard gauge track with no at-grade crossings.[2] In China, high-speed conventional rail lines operate at top speeds of 350 km/h (220 mph),[3] and one Maglev Line in Shanghai reaches speeds of 431 km/h (268 mph). The world record for conventional high-speed rail is held by the V150, a specially configured version of Alstom's TGV which clocked 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on a test run. The world speed record for Maglev is held by the Japanese experimental MLX01: 581 km/h (361 mph).[4]

While high-speed rail is usually designed for passenger travel, some high-speed systems also carry some kind of freight service. For instance, the French mail service La Poste owns a few special TGV trains for carrying postal freight.

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