With Elon Musk's next-generation transportation system, the Hyperloop, recently unveiled, many are calling into question moving forward with high-speed trains.
Musk claims the Hyperloop will cost a fraction of what's need to pay for high-speed rail projects. For example, California's high-speed rail route from San Francisco to Los Angeles is currently budgeted at $68 billion for a trip that will take 3 hours. Musk said the Hyperloop aims to make the trip in 35 minutes -- and will cost just $6 billion to build.
But with the Hyperloop still a dream, for now, high-speed rail is our best option for medium distance transportation. Here, we take a look at a few of the fastest trains in the world.
The Frecciarossa 1000, seen above, also known as the V300 Zefiro and ETR 1000, is a next-generation high-speed train developed by Bombardier Transportation and AnsaldoBreda. The $2 billion, 220-mph train will go into service in 2015, making the trip from Rome to Milan in just 2.2 hours.
China's magnetic levitation train is currently the fastest train in the world. Floating above the track on magnets, this train makes the 18-mile trip from downtown Shanghai to Shanghai Pudong International Airport in just 8 minutes, hitting speeds up to 268 mph.
Technically, the low-friction maglev train is capable of going even faster -- about 311 mph. Elon Musk said the Hyperloop would travel more than twice as fast, topping out at 760 mph at certain stretches.
What's next for train travel? Japan recently made several successful tests of the Central Japan Railway Company's next generation L0 Series magnetic levitation trains which broke all records.
The L0 trains -- now the fastest in the world -- will travel between Tokyo and Nagoya, a trip of 218 miles and will take just 40 minutes, beginning in 2027.