In the second half of the 20th century the rail transport has faced a challenge. Then have appeared the question if the railways have a future in times the air transport has become more accessible and cheap or not. It has seemed that the railways have no prospects. In the cities, cars have become affordable for everyone. For short distances they have had no competition. For more distant places major role have played the regular airline services.
The change has came in 1964th when on the 1st of October has put into motion the first high speed Shinkansen train between the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.
It has developed a speed of 200 km./h, which has been something phenomenal for those times! That has been the beginning of a new era in the world of trains.
After initial success have followed multiple modifications of the trains that have allowed the development of increasingly higher speeds.
Over the years more and more cities around the world have connected with each other in this way.
Today, high-speed lines run between the cities of London and Paris – through the La Mansh, and also connect Paris with the Mediterranean. Countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany and many other currently modernize and extend their high-speed lines.
Today between Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia, in China – between Shanghai and Hangzhou, in the U.S. between Boston and Washington and in South Africa there are high-speed railways, but most of them are yet under construction (with the exception of U.S.).
Meanwhile, new technologies have helped the development of higher speed of movement – from 200 km / h in 1964 to 581 km / h in 2007. This speed has allowed the trains to compete successfully the air planes.
Prospects for the future are great. It is assumed that all major cities in Europe will be connected by high-speed lines. Similar projects exist also in the U.S.
There, high-speed railway between Boston and Washington through New York seriously compete the air lines.
And taking into account the delays at airports, which are practically inevitable, it appears that the trains are unrivalled in short distances.
Because the air planes are a very serious air pollutant, most likely they will only be used for destinations located across the ocean to which one can not reaches otherwise.
Today, most famous are the French TGV trains and Japanese Shinkansen. Those two countries hold the palm of leadership in high-speed railways for a very long time.
The record of French trains is for maintaining of highest average speed, and the absolute record belongs to the Japanese Shinkansen – 581 km / h on a straight track.
These trains have no wheels – they move on a magnet tape, which is strongly safeguarded, because its passing could be a dangerous for the nearby people or animals because of the ultra-high speed.
When a high-speed train stops, its body is flushed with cold water as it is doing with the air planes.
The reason is again the high speed. Although the aerodynamic form of these trains, the speed creates a lot of friction with the air and thus the vehicle heat up strongly.