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 4rail.net - Super High Speed Trains Subjects 
! Work in Progress !    

Created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, John McKey, Stanislav Voronin, Focalplane and T-J Hämäläinen.


 Also on High Speed  

Super High Speed News provides you the newest happenings and trends in the super fast railroading. 
     

A TGV and AGV Theme Page provides information on these most succesfull super high speed trains.
   
 
 
See the Velaro & ICE 1,2,3 Page for these Siemens prides!


The Virgin Trains Pendolino class 390 is one of the many pendolinos found on the 4rail.net Pendolino page.  
   

It all started from Japan in 1964 with the first bullet train. See what the latest Shinkansens have to offer for the world! 
   

The Eurostars use the Channel Tunnel connect the U.K. to the mainland Europe. 
 

The Chinese CHR program is the most advanced  in the world and China will be the world leader in super high speed trains usage in just a few years.


One of the always popular trains is the Russian super high speed test train Sokol. While Sokol was a product in the wrong time period, the Russia today has an impressive high speed program starting.


Maglev of Germany and China starts the new generation of floating on the rail, the new comfort level of travelling!   



High Speed Train Families *    
Welcome to the main page of the 4rail.net ever growing super high speed and high speed trains section! You will find here several dozen of the most successfull trains of these types plus a lot of information on the infrastructure, manufacturers and the advanced technology needed. You may also be interested in the News Section on the High Speed Trains. There is a theme page devoted to Super High Speed Trains as well as a number of other pages around different high speed themes. The super high speed class here means that the train is capable of production running speeds of 280 km/h (174 mph) and over. We will also soon create another page for many interesting "normal" high speed trains of speeds 220 km/h - 280 km/h (137 mph - 174 mph). There will be as well be a new page dedicated to the super high speed future as well as the "semi" high speed page (200-220 km/h / 124-137 mph).   
A drawing of the Velaro-D DB class 407 in use arriving at station
 High Speed Train Families  

Train families like ICE, Velaro, Shinkansen, TGV, CRH, Pendolino, Zefiro, AGV, etc. form a formidable fleet of super high speed and high speed fleet of several thousand train units. Before taking a look at each of them read the short description of each of these.          

   Most Common High Speed Train Families... 
 Tilting High Speed Trains 
Tilting high speed train fill in a niche market on the high speed train on the conventional track, where super high speed is not possible because of the economical reasons or lower volumes than would be needed to build the real high speed line. The slight tilt is useaful especially on the well maintained but curvy track which can be found most anywhere in Europe.

 
   Tilting Train Types Page... 
SBB Pendolino ETR610 in "Swisalpino" colors, Basel, Switzerland High Speed Services 
Take a quick look at the companies running the super high speed and high speed traffic. Outside the traditional national companies there are already a handful of companies which are competing, although the new companies most often are also owned by the same giants.    
   
   Look at the High Speed Services... 
High Speed Lines   
T123

   D123...  
 Unconventional Solutions for High Speed     
E
   
   D..
 Planes and Trains...    
TG.
   
   D...    
Maglev Train Front Hunting the High Speed Records       
T.  
   
   Det...  
  
Thalys PBKA unit 4345 in its new livery, Liege, Belgium High Speed Lines in Europe     
Te   
   
   D...  
  

SNCF TGV-ReséauDuplex unit 619 near Nissan oppidum, French southern landscape High Speed Lines in U.S.A.
Tce   
   
   D.  
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  4rail.net - Super High Speed Trains        


   
 Super High Speed Reference

Super High Speed Trains * TGV and AGV Trains Page * Velaro and ICE Trains Page *  

 Super High Speed in Europe      
Currently Europe is still the leader in Super High Speed technology:
TGV and AGV are the workd famous French Super High Speed trains. Over 500 TGV units were built since 1980's and greta majority of these see daily use in several countries including France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland and U.K. Enjoy the TGV pictures of almost 20 types on the TGV/AGV Page and other pages. These train types include TGV- Paris Sud-Est, TGV-Atlantique, TGV-Reséau, TGV-Duplex, TGV-Reséau Hybrid, TGV-Dasye, TGV Iris320, Postal TGV, TGV-POS, Eurostar class 373 and a number of other interesting types. The "next generation" high speed train to supplement the famous line of TGVs is the Alstom AGV. These handsome Ferrari red painted units will strat their revenue service in Italy in 2011. The first of these units are currently in finishing phase and in certification tests.    
Velaro and the ICE are the world famous best sellers designed originally in Germany, but now also license built in China. Velaro variants have been the best sellers recently in all markets: Germany, Spain, Russia, China and there are currently over 300 units in daily traffic worldwide. 
Eurostar class 373 is effectively a disguised TGV. The Eurostar trains connect the United Kingdom with the Continental Europe destinations. These double length formidable TGV type trains have revolutionized the traveling between UK and the continent.
Thalys PBKA set at Paris Gare du Nord in France
Picture: Paris Gare du Nord is one of the most interesting places for seeing the international and French national super high speed trains including a dozen types of the TGV, 2 Thalyses (Thalys PBKA in the picture) and the Eurostar units (in the background) as well as the german ICE3/Velaro-D units! Picture by Sanna Siissalo.  

   
For the nonconventional trains class the German developed Maglev is the probably the most interesting, floating on the "rail" this class of vehicles has so far reached speeds of up to 430 km/h (267 mph) in daily revenue traffic! 
   
Bombardier has also been active on building super high speed trains for Europe. Zefiro trains with speeds up to 380 km/h (236 mph) will be arriving to European market soon, while the current European trainsets of Bombardier travel 350 km/h (217 mph). We will study these trains later in detail.
   
   
(Conventional) High Speed in Europe  
Not everything is super fas even in Europe, where the traditions are hundred year long on constructing the high speed trains and infra. Some of the most interesting solutions include trains like Pendolino, X2 (ex. X2000), ICE-T and ICE-TD on the Tilting Trains Special PageKarelian Trains Allegro Pendolino Sm6 nr1 unit onlin for the first time in Kerava, Finland
     
     
Super High Speed in Asia   
Asia is the challenger for Europe in the use of Super High Speed technology and has overtaken it as the number one in the length of the network, trains and speeds. You might enjoy the following Asian subjects:
 Shinkansens: The original bullet train run on the new rail line, the Shinkansen. The traffic started in 1960s and the systems have been gradually enhanced ever since. The Japanese today have a lot to offer in classes of high speed travel and super high speed travelling. The Japanese "bullet trains'" design is also definitely unique!  
 Chinese Super High Speed efforts are leading to number one ranking in the world in just 10 years timespace! The Shanghai Maglev line is one example of the might of the rising Asia. Also, first in the world the Chinese will accompany Bombardier to implement a new 380 km/h (236 mph) super high speed train techonology on the 'conventional' rails. China, a wast country, also has teh longest super high speed network in the world. A curiosity, there are also super high speed sleepers in China because of the long distances!
- Korea has both TGVs and super high speed train KTX2 of its own design, plus experience on operations for over 10 years. 

 
   
     
High Speed in U.S.A.    
Currently the U.S. is getting started with the super high speed and high speed efforts. There is an Acela high speed train running partially high speed network in the east. Throughout the country there are plans for the electric high speed trains. Midwest, Florida and even Texas have been active putting forward their plans to boost productivity by creation on the high speed networks. Also California is actively planning the super high speed network to connect with it's largest population centers. Many major trains manufacturers have presented their scenarios for the fleet needed for realize the potential of the super high speed travel. Train builders Bombardier and Siemens also have already a strong precense in U.S.A. which might help getting started.   
  Super High Speed Efforts in the U.S.   
   
   
High Speed World Wide    
High Speed travelling is spreading also outside the current operations areas, countries like Brasil and Saudi Arabia among others are seriously in the process of starting to build the high speed trains infrastructure. 
   
 High Speed Operators       
A link list to resources in 4rail.net to be added here soon.
     


Super High Speed News        
  Super High Speed News Page  Updated regularly  
  Super High Speed News for 2009   
  

Other High Speed Articles       
To be linked. See the footer for a 20+ high speed page menu!  

Created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Hannu Peltola, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, Stanislav Voronin and John McKey.  



 Also on High Speed  

Super High Speed News provides you the newest happenings and trends in the super fast railroading. 
     

A TGV and AGV Theme Page provides information on these most succesfull super high speed trains.
   
 
 
See the Velaro & ICE 1,2,3 Page for these Siemens prides!


The Virgin Trains Pendolino class 390 is one of the many pendolinos found on the 4rail.net Pendolino page.  
   

It all started from Japan in 1964 with the first bullet train. See what the latest Shinkansens have to offer for the world! 
   

The Eurostars use the Channel Tunnel connect the U.K. to the mainland Europe. 
 

The Chinese CHR program is the most advanced  in the world and China will be the world leader in super high speed trains usage in just a few years.


One of the always popular trains is the Russian super high speed test train Sokol. While Sokol was a product in the wrong time period, the Russia today has an impressive high speed program starting.


Maglev of Germany and China starts the new generation of floating on the rail, the new comfort level of travelling!   

 

   To the top of the page    
     
     
       
  High Speed Train Families (under construction)     
 TGV-001    
   
TGV unit 001 at Strasbourg, France
TGV unit 001 already sported the same design as the later electric TGV units, but the prototype was gas turbine powered. While well capable of achieving the speeds of up to 300 km/h, the fuel costs of constantly running turbines were enormous. This led to the decision in 1976 to order the production TGV's as pure electric trains.
 
While the power source was not successfull, the TGV-001 definitely was a pathfinder for the following production units. TGV-001 was run over 500'000 kilometers in tests with several hundred times passing the magical 300 km/h limit. The record speed for this gas turbine unit was 318 km/h!

   
La Poste was early in maximizing the speed of its services in the 1980s with 7 half TGV sets adapted to super high speed freight transport.   
   
Technical details for TGV-001
-> Builder: Alstom  
-> Owned and operated: a prototype
-> Delivered to use: project, 1969 - 1978   
-> Number of units built: 1
-> Unit numbers: TGV-001
-> Configuration: 12 locomotives copupled permanently together 
       with 3 articulated trailers

   
-> Capacity: prototype   
-> Usage: In France 
     
-> Unit length: 92,9 meters
-> Unit width: 2,8 m
-> Unit height: 3,4 m
-> Mass, metric tons: 192    
-> Unit power:
      - 3760 kW usign TURMO3 gas turbine  ( Hp),
      - 4400 kW usign TURMO10 gas turbine  ( Hp),      
-> Maximum allowed speed: 300 km/h ( mph)  
-> Electrical systems: -   
-> Train control:
-> Coupler type:    
 
Easy recognition guide

    * Not in traffic any more  
      
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 Traditional Super Fast Trains   
TGV's and AGV's     

TGV Réseau
 TGV Atlantique unit 354, one of the numerous single story TGV trains in France. Picture by Ilkka Siissalo
TGV has long been an icon for the Super Fast Trains. Currently there are almost 500 trains trafficing daily on the large TGV-fleet of the SNCF (French National Railways) and other railway operators. In addition to being the technological success story the TGV has been an immense economical success as well with its carefully balanced combination of high tech and traditional and tried solutions.   
   
In the beginning there was the lack of money...the TGV story starts with a 30 year struggle for the money before the first TGV Paris-Sud-Est could dash between the French cities of Paris and Lyon in 1981. Since then, there has been continuous succesfull expansion with new TGV train types and  new high speed lines opening to new territories every few years... 
   
Today the French Super Fast Train Network is among the best in the world. Technologically advanced high speed links connect the largest cities both in France and abroad. While much of the France has been built already, the networks have now expanded to connect with the neighboring countries as well.   
   
Further information:
TGV's by type... (TGV-Atlantique, TGV-Dasy, TGV-Duplex, TGV-Hybrid (Duplex),  TGV-POS, TGV-PSE, TGV-PSE-La Poste, TGV-Réseau, ...)  Updated frequently!    
 AGV (Super High Speed EMU by Alstom)...   
Thalyses...  
 Eurostars...   
 TGV Lyria...        
   
Networks:
Superfast networks in France, national and international...    
     
Snails on rail 2   TVG, not snail...   The older TGV and the TGV new meet   
   
  Lots of more information and pictures on the TGV / AGV page!...   
  To the top of the page  


 ICE's and Velaro Family of Super High Speed Trains      

ICE3 @ Muenchen
The ICE3 unit unboarding is in Munich Germany. Design meets with a state of the art engineering!

ICE is the mainline for the German super high speed railway operations. There are today several types of the ICE trains. While ICE3 and Velaros are the latest in technology, the ICE1 and ICE2 trains still form the backbone for the traffic. There is also a ICE-T tilting version for the high speed traffic on conventional rail lines as well the the diesel variant of this tilting train, the ICE-TD.    

The Super High speed in the German area   

   The history of the German high speed...  
   ICE 1 and ICE 2...  
   ICE3 and Velaro...  
   ICE-T and ICE-TD...            
      German super high speed corridors...
  
   
ICE2
    
      
  More information and pictures on the Inter City Express and Velaro Page...      
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Eurostars      

Eurostar
The Eurostars are serving mainly Great Britains connections to the continent. The travel from London to Paris only takes 2,5 hours currently on these trains!
 
  
Eurostars operate internationally from the United Kingdom as well as within Great Britain and inside France covering some schedules for the TGV's. Essentially a disguised TGV train most Eurostar sets are nearly double the length of a normal TGV train (393m vs. 200m). Taking a closer look you will find numerous interesting design differences making it easy to place the origins of the train sets outside the continental Europe.  
   
Read further information on the Eurostar Capital and Regional:
 
 Eurostars...   Updated recently   
   
Other TGV-type trains can be found at:
 
TGV's by type...  Updated recently  
 
Thalyses...   Updated recently
   
Future additions:
Superfast networks in the UK and Channel Tunnel...    
  
 
        
  More information and pictures on the Eurostar Page...     
  To the top of the page  


Pendolino (from the High Speed Class), AGP. ICE-T, ICE-TD, Talgo, X2         
Building super high speed rail networks can be economically challenging. Often some practicing is needed before the decision is made on building. The tilting trains provide the solution to get started with high speed on the normal track. These are an economical solution to bridge the gap between two modes of operation.
     
There have been a number of passsive and active tilting solutions from the first trial almost 100 years ago to the current
Pendolinos and similar tilting EMUs and DMUs. Once the traffic picks up with the tilting fleet of trains, the real super high speed networks building can many times be justified. 
    
On the left the tilting diesel powered high speed ICE-TD train in service between Copenhagen Denmark and Hamburg Germany.  
 
   
  Tilting Trains Special Page...  

ETR500
Trenitalia ETR500 "Eurostar" (written on the train!). As fast as oldest TGVs, true Eurostars and ICEs (max. 300km/h), Italy is less known for its super high speed networks and trains although it is one of the big high speed railroading countries!

Pendolino is a family of tilting high speed unit trains originally built by FIAT Ferroviaria, the company which since has been acquired by the TGV manufacturer Alstom. Variants can be found in several countries like Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Italy, Finland, Slovenia, Switzerland, soon to be followed by Russia, ...   

A Finnish VR-Yhtyma variant of the Pendolino  
Above the Finnish VR-Yhtyma variant of the Fiat Ferroviaria Pendolino. More trains will follow in 2010 to start the high speed traffic between Helsinki Finland and St Petersburg in Russia. New Pendolino units have also been ordered to Switzerland to replace the aging Cisalpino model 470s. These new units will run 250 km/h (155 mph) unlike the Finnish-Russo new units which support just 220 km/h (137 mph), the traditional maximum speed. Both are however good results for the tilting train sets in the demanding winter conditions.
    Pendolino & tilting trains theme page on 4rail.net...  NEW  
    Cisalpino (ETR470 Pendolino) story by Ilkka Siissalo in the Swiss section...  NEW  
    Cisalpino 2 (ETR610 Pendolino) ready for operations in Switzerland...  NEW  
  To the top of the page  

 


Inside the spacious and comfortable, VR-Yhtyma Pendolino's 2nd class. Even with 4 seats across there is plenty of room for passengers. 


The Virgin Pendolino train whoozing by Watford Junction at an amazing speed in Great Britain. Picture by Stanislav Voronin March 2007.    
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Japanese Super High Speed & Shinkansen        

Shinkansen 300

Shinkansen is the pride of Japan. Started in 1964 the ever developing high speed network is operated with a dozen types of bullet trains. In the picture on the left a Japan Railways Central/West Shinkansen 300 is resting at Osaka station in southern Japan.
   
The Shinkansen series 300 is capable of speeds of up to 300 km/h, the design speed  for many Shinkansen track. The speed for trains, even the newer ones is often slightly lower. We belive this is mainly due to the frequent earth quakes in Japan, since there should be no technical limitations for the high tech country like Japan.       
   
Interestingly, Japan
originally chose a different solution from France for the super high speed lines. While the Japanese "bullet" trains have their own track all the way, and are more or less confined there, the European super high speed trains have their own corridors, plus they can leave to the normal track at any point to enable a much more flexible approach for the service. For example the French super fast network has been built one piece at a time, and much of the time TGV's have been running almost anywhere on the traditional network as well. In 1984 - at the time of the first LGV (super high speed line) between Paris and the Lyon - the editor travelled between Paris and Nice on TGV, "flying on the ground" where the LGV was opened and travelling slightly faster than a normal train where the traditional tracks had to be used.

  Japan's Super High Speed Page...  Updated recently  
   
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Chinese Super Fast Efforts        

Shinkansen 300
This Japan railways Series 300 looks quite similar to the Chinese CRH 2 (CHR 2 nose is slightly more futuristic looking), while China is using its wast resources to exploit every technology available for the license manufacturing.

Picture: The Velaro-C on the test run outside Beijing China.  

While China is a huge country, measured both with population and area, it started a few years ago an impressive program to develop much of its rail networks and to learn every needed technology, which might enable it to gain a dominant foothold on the super high speed in the future.
   
Despite the fact that China's starting level has been backward at best, the recent developments aim for high technology, high capacity solutions. To name one: China (Shanghai) is the only country with a working magnetic levitation rail line between its airport and the center of the city. China has as well started several long distance high speed line projects, which aim for establishing it as a number one super high speed nation, measured with every factor except the highest used speed.  

On the conventional rail three different CRH trains open path for the future volumes of the high speed traffic. All of these are license built from the models of the leading western manufacturers Alstom (2 models)  and Siemens (1 model). 
   
Below you will find a chart on some of the Chinese super fast trains today. This generation is built on licensed technology, but this will change in the future as the Chinese will develop their own technologies and solutions. The key: much higher volumes than any other country can offer!     
   
   
 

Picture: The Maglev mock up outside Munich Airport in Germany. Picture by Ilkka Siissalo.  
   
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   Chinese Super High Speed Train Types at Glance   
 Train type
 Units
 Top speed
   km/h (mph)
 Electrical system
 Power kW
 Structure
 Passengers
 Notes
 China National Railways
CRH 2
60
250/300 (  /  )  
25 kV 50 Hz
9600
CU+2P+2U+2P+CU  
610
Looks like Japans series 300/700 
CRH 3
60
300 (  )
25 kV 50 Hz
8800
CP+1U+1P+2U+1P+1U+CP
600
Looks like German ICE3 /Velaro
CRH 5
60
250 (  )
25 kV 50 Hz
5500
CUP+1UP+1UU+1UP+
2U+1PU+CPU
600
Looks quite like Finnish Pendolino, which was the starting point for design.  
Maglev Shanghai



Spanish Super Fast Trains          

Spain is improving fast its rail networks with impressive projects. Although many projects were originally late in timetables, these projects are now showing remarkable results and the passengers will be able to travel a large network of several types of high speed rail vehicles. 
 
The Spanish fleet of super high speed trains consists of the Renfe TGV,  Talgo and Velaro-E solutions.  
 
We will cover this subject later in more detail.


Picture onn the left: An impressive silhouette of the Renfe AVE model Velaro-E.  Photo courtesy Siemens AG.

 

 
   
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Russian Super Fast Efforts          


 

Russia is last of the bigger European nations to add a super fast trains fleet on its networks, although it has had efforts on this sector for decades. In the Soviet Days the Sokol-prototype train was to compete with its western counterparts. Although Sokol never got anywhere (there is one half built prototype pictured on the left), the ambition lives on.  
 
  Russia's Sokol Picture Tour on the test rink...  Updated recently  
 
Russia is currently using its wealth to expand its super fast rail networks between the bigger cities. RZD, the Russian Railways, has started many ambitious track improvement projects and ordered new rolling stock. Siemens of Germany will deliver 8 units of its lower speed (250 km/h max.) Velaro model. At least one of these was seen at Innotrans 2008 and is already in test use. In a joint venture with Finnish Railways the RzD will buy from Alstom of Italy 4 units of max 220 km/h Pendolinos. So the start will be very humble, as both types of the units are delivered in 2009. The traffic between St Petersburg and Moscow is expected to start in 2010 and it remains to be seen, how well just 8 units will serve between these two huge cities. The Pendolinos are aimed for international service starting 2010 between Helsinki Finland and St Petersburg Russia cutting the travel times drastically from the current 5,5 hours. The Velaros (Sapsan) will start their traffic in 2009.  

The Soviet Union had its day with the high speed trains as well. Following the path of Japanese bullet train Shinkansen, the Soviets went ahead on their project to shorten the travel time between two of its largest cities Moscow and Leningrad (now St Petersburg). A decision was made to develop high speed train with a speed range of 200-250 km/h. In 1967 an order for the prototype of 14 modules was issued for 3 kV DC (a voltage too low for high speed for real, not providing enough power for acceleration). Altogether over 50 different organizations in the USSR were involved in this project, so it must have been one of the top projects on the priority list! In December 1973 the first train rolled out of Riga wagon building factory. Only two ER200s were ever built after all this effort. Interestingly the initial idea was to make all wagons powered, like on some Japanese bullet trains, but in reality first and last vagons were built as not motorized.
   
The use in passenger traffic began only on March 1st 1984 after almost two decades of extensive testing!
   
The ER-200 train has an aluminium body. Every second wagon has a pantograph. The second train was built only first in 1988! It has some differences in electrical control schematics. Visually seen from the front the train has extra lamp on top of cabin and doubled vertical side lights. In order to have replacement for the existing front wagons, and to build a third train in the future, in 1990 additional two front wagons were built.
   
Travel time on ER-200 between Moscow and Leningrad/St Petersburg was 4 hours 39 minutes. In April 2008 Russian Railways announced a future withdrawal of ER-200 type trains due to the development of the new super high speed line between Moscow and St Petersburg. This is the line that the Velaro 250s will use.  
   
 
Picture on the left: an impressive nose of one of the eigth state of the art Sapsan / Velaro-Rus trains curently in test runs in Russia. Notice the huge Russian style coupler found also on the aboce Sokol test train!   


        
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 Magnetic Levitation     
Transrapid Maglev from Germany       

Maglev
Transrapid Maglev mock up at Muenchen airport.     
Transrapid Maglev project has unfortunately been cancelled in Munich germany. We were happy that the Maglev was finally gathering momentum! The recent Bavarian decision to connect Munich Airport with the city center using Transrapid trains was a major step forward for the project. The two previous installations have been in Shanghai China, where the maglevs connect similarly airport with the city, and the test track in the northern Germany. However due to miscalculations of the costs, the actual project costs were double compared with the estimates, so the economical considerations, not the technical, were the reason for cancellation. We hope that the project will be completed later, when the situation changes.  

The idea of magnetic levitation is to minimize the friction and mechanical support, thus allowing for more comfortable rides on greater speeds up to several hundred kilometers per hour. Use of this technology provides an almost noiseless train movement, unlike the current super high speed trains.  The Maglevs have not been very successfull because of the initial investment costs, low transportation capacity and incompatibility issues (since there is no compatible infrastructure available). There might also be issues on the high energy field's effects on human beings.

More on Transrapid Maglevs on the Magnetic Leviatation Trains Special Page. Because this train might show the way for the future transportation of people, we will follow the developments closely.  

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