On a recent trip through Asia and Europe, I had the opportunity to ride bullet trains in China, Korea, and Russia. Last year, on a trip to Tokyo to launch Business Insider Japan, I rode a bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka.
China’s bullet trains stood out for their speed and the extensiveness of their network; Japan’s trains were notable for their cleanliness and comfort; Korea’s trains were easy to navigate and had great Wi-Fi, and Russia’s trains had the best food options.
While China and Japan’s bullet train systems were exceptional and Russia’s Sapsan felt luxurious, I think China currently has the edge — here’s why.
As Business Insider’s International Correspondent, I have spent a lot of time over the last four months on any number of trains, planes, and metros.
But my favorite thing to do in any country is ride the high-speed bullet trains, if one is available.
Why? They just aren’t available in the US.
Amtrak’s Acela Express, which travels from Boston to Washington DC, is the closest thing Americans have to a high-speed train. But with a speed that tops out at 214 km/h (150 mph), it pales in comparison to train systems in China and Japan, which are both faster and more extensive.
On recent trips to China, Japan, Korea, and Russia, I made sure to ride the high-speed bullet trains so that I could get a sense of how they compare from country to country.
In each instance, the train systems were impressive and efficient. But which is the best? Let’s find out.
(Disclaimer: This is based on my personal experience. For a more numbers-based comparison, go here»)
SEE ALSO: I rode China’s superfast bullet train that could go from New York to Chicago in 4.5 hours — and it shows how far behind the US really is
First, let’s look at the trains. Given that China’s high-speed rail has developed over the last 15 years, it would be expected that the trains would be new. While Chinese rail used to rely on technology from Europe and Japan, the country unveiled its newest Chinese-designed-and-made Fuxing class train last year.
While Japan’s bullet train, the Shinkansen, was introduced in 1964, the country has continually updated the trains as the technology is a major Japanese export. The latest trains, the E5 and the slightly modified H5, have been in service since 2011 and 2016 respectively.
Korea’s Korea Train Express launched its services …read more
Source:: Business Insider