The World's Fastest Train 全世界最快的列車
Over the past few decades, train speeds have been steadily increasing. Many trains today can travel faster than helicopters, and some can even go faster than small airplanes. Countries have taken advantage of these technological advances and built high-speed railways in order to transport people and goods between major cities.
According to the International Union of Railways (UIC), a highspeed train is one that travels at a speed of over 200 kilometers per hour. Most high-speed trains travel at speeds ranging between 250 and 300 kilometers per hour. They were originally introduced to win back travelers who were switching over to airplanes. Nowadays, high-speed train networks can be quite expensive to build, but once complete they can make a big contribution to a country's economic development. In fact, high-speed trains are thought to be more energy efficient and less damaging to the environment than using cars and highways to move people around.
根據國際鐵路聯盟（UIC）的資料，高速列車的時速超過200 公里。多數高速列車的時速範圍約250 至300 公里。引進高速列車的本意，在於挽回改搭飛機的乘客流量。如今，雖然高速列車網絡的營建成本不斐，但是竣工之後，就能為該國經濟發展帶來一大貢獻。事實上，與汽車和高速公路等交通運輸工具相比，高速列車更節能環保。
The very first modern high-speed rail line was built in Japan in 1964, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. It was called the Tokaido Shinkansen, and it linked Tokyo and Osaka. The train was capable of reaching speeds of over 256 kilometers per hour. Then in 1977, Europe got its very first high-speed train in Italy, connecting Rome and Florence. Since then, high-speed rail networks have continued to expand across Europe and Asia, though they are still not popular in North America.
史上第一條現代化高速鐵路系統，於1964 年首建於日本，剛好趕在東京奧運前夕通車。此列車路段稱為「東海道新幹線」，連接了東京與大阪，且時速可超越256 公里。到了1977 年，義大利建造了歐洲第一條高速鐵路，此路段可往返羅馬與佛羅倫斯之間。其後，高速鐵路網於歐洲和亞洲境內不斷擴增，但尚未風行北美地區。
It's almost like new high-speed train world records are made to be broken. In 1996, Japan's Shinkansen set a new speed record of 443 kilometers per hour. In 2003, the German Transrapid train left the Shinkansen in the dust, hitting speeds of over 500 kilometers per hour. Transrapid didn't have very long to enjoy its victory. In 2007, the French company TGV stole away the crown for fastest high-speed train when it achieved staggering speeds of 574.8 kilometers per hour. Yet the fastest train of all is the Japan Railways maglev train, which uses magnetic levitation to float above the rails. This train has hit speeds of up to 603 kilometers per hour.
高速鐵路的車速記錄似乎總是不斷被打破。1996 年，日本新幹線創下時速443 公里的最高紀錄。2003 年，德國磁浮列車時速超越500 公里，令新幹線望塵莫及。不過，德國磁浮列車享受第一榮耀的時間並不久。2007 年，法國高速列車TGV 創下時速574.8 公里的驚人紀錄，奪走最快高速列車的冠軍寶座。然而，世上最快列車的頭銜，還是落入日本JR 磁浮列車手中。它運用磁原理讓列車懸浮於軌道上，時速可達603 公里。