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World Speed Survey 2007 update

02 Nov 2007

Sir - I was very interested to read your latest World Speed Survey (RG 9.07 p555), but I would like to make a small correction to the German entry.

As you report, the fastest journey times are achieved on the Köln - Rhein/Main Neubaustrecke. However, the exact distance between Frankfurt Flughafen and Siegburg/Bonn is given elsewhere as 143·4 km. The regular hourly service between these stations takes 38 min, giving an average speed of only 226·4 km/h and not 233·5 km/h. This would put Germany behind Spain in the table!

The fastest ICE between Nürnberg and Ingolstadt is ICE 823 leaving Nürnberg Hbf at 06.01, which arrives in Ingolstadt at 06.28, giving an average speed of exactly 200·0 km/h.

Sven Andersen
Düsseldorf, Germany


Sir - To my best knowledge, Chinese train D1/D2, a non-stop service from Beijing to Shengyang Bei, covers the 703 km distance in 3 h 59 min as you report.

However, this is an average start-to-stop speed of 176 km/h, not the 193·9 km/h which you give in Table I.

Xing Chen
Arlington, Virginia, USA

Colin Taylor responds:

It is good that there are readers who check figures that appear to be wrong. Sven Andersen has correctly identified an error in the distances on the new line between Köln and Frankfurt.

These were first entered using data from the Thomas Cook European Timetable until more accurate distances were received from Deutsche Bahn in 2003. Unfortunately, my original records remained unchanged and the rounded distances were used as the basis for the 2007 review.

Whilst most non-stop ICE runs from Frankfurt Flughafen to Siegburg/Bonn are scheduled at 38 min, ICE 10 takes 1 min less, keeping Germany still ahead of Spain. And whilst the four ICE trains between Ingolstadt and Nürnberg were correctly shown as averaging 192·9 km/h, Mr Andersen's 200 km/h for ICE 823 is correct if a dwell time of 2 min at Ingolstadt is deducted from the time shown in Cook's. With this entry and the corrected distances, a revised list of Germany's fastest runs in 2007 appears below.

I am sorry that the wrong speed was shown for the Chinese entry, which was a result of my editing to eliminate duplicate entries between the same station pairs. Apart from this error, I think the Chinese entries remain correct and in the right order. That is, until some diligent reader with a Chinese working timetable perhaps finds out that there is a few minutes 'dwell time' at Qinhuangdao or Shenyang Bei and that all the trains are faster than we thought.

Two other minor errors have also come to light during my checking of the files. The third French entry should show a speed of 255·9 km/h, not 255·6 km/h, but this does not change its position in the table. The third and fourth entries for Taiwan are wrongly positioned in the table, although both entries are correct.

Train From To Distance, km Time, min Speed, km/h
Germany (300 km/h)
ICE 10 Frankfurt Flughafen Siegburg/Bonn 143·3 37 232·4
10 ICE trains Siegburg/Bonn Montabaur 63·0 18 210·0
ICE 721 Montabaur Frankfurt Flughafen 80·3 23 209·5
15 ICE trains Frankfurt Flughafen Limburg Sud 58·8 17 207·6
ICE 823 Nürnberg Hbf Ingolstadt Hbf 90·0 27 200·0  
ICE 225/629 Köln Hbf Frankfurt Flughafen 169·3 52 195·3