These two videos are worth 1,000 words.
Here's what we have in the U.S.
Which one looks like the 21st century?
China unveils high-speed train despite safety woes
China has built the world's largest high-speed rail system from scratch in less than a decade, but a collision between two high-speed trains in July that killed at least 40 people led it to suspend new projects.
The train, whose sleek design was inspired by an ancient Chinese sword, was built using plastic reinforced with carbon fibre and magnesium alloy to reduce weight and therefore increase speed, the report said
Separately, a new high-speed railway linking the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, Guangzhou, to Shenzhen city on the border with Hong Kong went into service on Monday, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.
China plans to extend the route to Hong Kong by 2015 as part of the planned Beijing-Hong Kong high-speed line, it said.
Very few Americans have had the pleasure of traveling by high speed rail. Last may I got to take a high speed Thaly train from Paris to Amsterdam. Sections of the Thaly's route ran parallel to some of the French autoroutes (freeways). The train that was traveling at up to 185 MPH made all the vehicles on the autoroutes look like they were moving in slow motion. Rocketing across the contryside at ground level is an extraordinary experience for those who haven't tried it. It was one of the high points of my trip.
This is what it looks like: