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Italy-based Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) is all set to debut its high speed train - Italo - on 28 April. The service will run on the Napoli - Roma - Firenze - Bologna - Milano corridor initially; operations will be extended to Salerno, Torino and Venezia by the end of the year, as the company adds 25 high speed Italo trains to its fleet, NTV said in a statement.

The news that a private rail operator has ventured into the Italian high speed rail network has apparently set the world's high speed rail network abuzz.

China's Ministry of Science and Technology said earlier this week the country planned to extend its high speed rail network by constructing 16,000km of high-speed lines by 2020. According to the ministry's official Web site, the country also plans to develop high speed train products for export.

However, recent fatal rail accidents involving high speed trains have raised questions about the safety of fast-growing high speed rail networks around the world.

In one of the worst rail accidents ever, two high speed trains collided head-on, crashed and derailed in Wenzhou in China's Zhejiang province in July last year, killing at least 35 people. The country's 12th Five-Year Plan, for the period 2011-2015, included improvisation of technologies that will target enhanced safety of high speed railways, the ministry added.

Nevertheless, such misfortunes do not sway nations from developing their own high speed rail networks. High speed trains can cut travel time by anything from a few minutes to several hours.

In the US, President Barack Obama's administration has reportedly sought an additional $1bn for California's high speed rail project. Meanwhile, another high speed railway service - Eurostar - which operates between London, Paris and Brussels, posted a profit of 7 percent in the first quarter of 2012 over the corresponding period last year.

High speed travel has become a rather important part of our lives. We have the need for speed so well been taught that it is not uncommon to look to shave as much time of as many activities as possible, be they ever so mundane. It is in keeping with that tradition, we bring you a list of ten of the most spectacular high speed trains in the world... trains and networks that changed the face of long haul railway travel, dissolved borders and lent a new dimension to the idea of travelling by train...