A train is called a high speed train if its maximum speed in normal operation is at least 200 kilometers per hour (125 mph).


Despite decades of development, magnetic levitation (aka maglev) technology permitting speeds above 500 km/h still remains to be commercialized. A first baby step was taken in January 2003 when Shanghai's 60-km Pudong Airport Transrapid express link opened; China has already signed a contract to extend the track some 300 km to Hangzhou and is considering building the 1500-km Beijing-Shanghai link as maglev.

Dedicated Track

"Real" high speed trains run on dedicated track at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph). There are three families of high speed train technology, although the recent trend in Europe has been to build hybrids like the ICE 3 and Eurostar that can deal with multiple signaling systems.


Tilting trains can tilt into a curve to allow higher speeds without reducing passenger comfort. They run on minimally modified normal track and can reach speeds of up to 250 km/h, although 200 km/h is the usual maximum. Tilting technology has also been added to dedicated-track high speed trains, namely the ICE-T and the TGV Pendulaire.


and a tip o' the hat to mawa

The High Speed Train (capitalised) was the first high speed train in Britain: that is, the first train to go over 125mph. It is known by its official designation, Class 43, its trade name of Intercity 125 or the more colloquial name of "Screamer", referring to the loud screaming noise that the accelerators in the train engine make.

It was introduced in the late 1970s by British Rail, at a time when the generally accepted maximum speed of British trains was around 60mph, or 100mph if you were lucky. This, plus its fast acceleration and deceleration, made it ideal for passenger use and it slashed journey times around the country.

The train is widely used on long haul passenger services even today and has been hailed by many as Britain's best train ever.


The original Intercity 125 livery was blue and yellow-yellow fronted with a long blue stripe down the side of the train. This led to the nickname "flying yellow banana".

The next livery was in less widespread use. It was black at the top and white at the bottom, with a red stripe at the bottom. This did not feature the British Rail name or logo, and carried a new Intercity logo, with the name in serif type and an image of a bird. This is colloquially known in rail circles as the "fag packet" livery, due to its similarity to the look of a cigarette packet.

After privatisation, the individual train operating companies attached their own looks to the HST, with (First) Great Western changing its livery many times, finally to a Barbie-pink and white theme to match FirstGroup's corporate colours.


The HST is usually made of 7 or 8 British Rail Mk3 coaches, with a Class 43 engine on each end. The double engine arrangement removes the need for the engine to be decoupled, go to a turntable and then to the other end of the train.


The HST is used by many national railway companies, including Virgin Trains, GNER, First Great Western and Midland Mainline. It was also copied by the Australians for their XPT (however the XPT is slower).


The HST is still in widespread use. First Great Western are slowly replacing their HSTs with multiple unit Adelante trains, which can travel at the same speed as the HSTs and offer virtually no further benefits to the customer. They also lack some of the comfort and style of the HSTs, and have noisy underfloor engines known to irritate passengers on the long journeys for which they are meant. The Adelantes are also thought by many to have a plasticky, "flimsy" feel to them.
For those who may cry plagiarism, I also submitted this to Wikipedia.

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