Train numbers in China tell you how fast they are. The fastest trains are the G-class (photo above), which means that the train number will start with a G. We took a G train from Shanghai to Hangzhou, but this distance is so short that we did not feel this was one of the world’s fastest trains.
Today we took a G train from Beijing to Xi’an and were really impressed. The distance between these two cities is 1122 Kms, a shade less than the distance between Mumbai and Delhi (which is 1421 Kms). The fastest train connection between Mumbai and Delhi takes 16 hours. We took 5 hours from Beijing to Xi’an! The train made four stops in between, and its top speed was 306 Km/hr. If we had trains like this in India then we could go from Mumbai to Delhi in six and a half hours, less than half the time it now takes. If G-trains ran in India, Ahmedabad would be a little over 2 hours from Mumbai, making it a commutable distance. Someone living in Ahmedabad could dash to Mumbai for a business lunch.
Other fast trains which I’ve travelled by are the TGV from Paris to Marseilles, the German ICE 4 from Cologne to Berlin, and Japan’s Shinkansen between Hiroshima and Tokyo. They are all pretty impressive, but the Chinese Harmony beats them all in the smoothness of travel. I could walk along the train without feeling any sway or jerk. The train would accelerate into and out of stations smoothly. When I looked down to read, there was no haptic clue that I was on a train. My plastic bottle of water stayed firmly on its tray even after it was empty. This is what trains of the future will feel like.