The fastest trains in the USA are the Amtrak Acela, which hit a pretty decent 150 MPH. But on July 3rd, 1938, a steam-powered locomotive called the Mallard hit 125.88 MPH in England, and it's still the fastest steam locomotive in the world.
The 126 MPH run was achieved by the Mallard as it passed through Grantham, Lincolnshire just 75 years ago. It was, and still is, a steam powered locomotive. And more amazingly, the record still stands today.
I guess 1938 could be considered the precipice of steam power in trains, but it also shows just how far the world has come in train tech in just 75 years. It also shows how little has changed in regards to train travel in the USA in that time.
Amtrak's regional trains are models of inefficiency. They stop every 34 feet and top out around 100 MPH. The Acela, their fastest train, hits 150 for a brief stretch and that's it. This train went nearly that fast in 1938.
Kind of boggles the mind, doesn't it?
(Hat Tip to Blair!)