Which Country Has the Most High Speed Rail Lines?

Caitlin Dempsey

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High speed rail (HSR) uses a network of specialized and dedicated tracks to run trains that travel at very high speeds.  

The minimum speed of HSR trains can vary with newer installations traveling at speeds of 250 250 km/h (155 mph).  Older lines must reach at least 200 km/h (124 mph) to be considered high speed.

While China only started developed its HSR network in 2003, it has quickly become the country with the most high speed rail lines.  As a result of China making the development of a HSR network a cornerstone of its economic stimulus program in 2008, two-thirds of the world’s HSR lines are found in China. 31,000 kilometers (19,000 miles) of lines criss-cross the country as shown in this map:

China High Speed Rail Network. Map created by Mirko Lorenz, Datawrapper
China High Speed Rail Network. Map created by Mirko Lorenz, Datawrapper

China also has the most HSR under construction, with 7,207 kilometers.  This is a little less than double what Turkey is preparing to construct.


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Current and under construction High Speed Rail lines. Table: Mirko Lorenz, Datawrapper
Current and under construction high speed rail lines. Table: Mirko Lorenz, Datawrapper

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.