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Countries With the Fastest Passenger Trains

As rising fuel prices continue to make air and car travel more expensive, countries around the world are pushing ahead with high-speed rail plans.

The global rail industry is expected to reach a value of $870 billion in 2012, according to market research firm Datamonitor.

In the U.K., nearly 5 percent more passengers used trains in the first three months of 2011, compared to the same period a year before. The country's rail network experienced a level of traffic unseen since the 1920s, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Train travel is not only cheaper, it's also becoming increasingly faster. Emerging nations such as China and Russia are investing in high-speed bullet trains. Additionally, European nations are launching multibillion-dollar plans to expand and upgrade an already extensive high-speed network.

CNBC.com has compiled a list of the countries with world's fastest trains based on the maximum speed measured in miles per hour (mph). We've included record speeds hit during trial runs on electric and magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains, as well as those of experimental models. The numbers are based on a series of publicly available reports, as well as information from organizations such as the Railway Gazette International and the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation.

So, which countries have the worlds fastest trains? Click ahead to find out.

By: Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani
(Posted: July 18, 2011)

Photo: John W Banagan | Getty Images