A rapidly twisted electromagnetic accelerating structure includes a waveguide body having a central axis, one or more helical channels defined by the body and disposed around a substantially linear central axial channel, with central portions of the helical channels merging with the linear central axial channel. The structure propagates electromagnetic waves in the helical channels which support particle beam acceleration in the central axial channel at a phase velocity equal to or slower than the speed of light in free space. Since there is no variation in the shape of the transversal cross-section along the axis of the structure, inexpensive mechanical fabrication processes can be used to form the structure, such as extrusion, casting or injection molding. Also, because the field and frequency of the resonant mode depend on the whole structure rather than on dimensional tolerances of individual cells, no tuning of individual cells is needed. Accordingly, the overall operating frequency may be varied with a tuning/phase shifting device located outside the resonant waveguide structure.