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Posted by on Apr 3, 2007 in Science & Technology | 13 comments

French Train Breaks Rail Speed Record At 354.1 MPH

A new French train has broken rail speed records — going so fast (354.1 mph) that you’d think it was a car on a California freeway:

A high-speed French train with a souped-up engine and wheels broke the world speed record Tuesday for conventional rail trains, surpassing 354.1 mph.

The black and chrome train with three double-decker cars, named the V150, bettered the previous record of 320.2 mph but fell just short of the ultimate record set by Japan’s magnetically levitated train, which sped to 361 mph in 2003.

The TGV, short for “train a grande vitesse,� as France’s bullet trains are called, was equipped with larger wheels than the usual TGV to cover more ground with each rotation and a stronger, 25,000-horsepower engine, said Alain Cuccaroni, in charge of the technical aspects of testing.

Reuters reports:

The previous speed record for a train running on rails was 515.3 kph, set in France in 1990.

Apart from France’s Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) and Japan’s Shinkansen, high-speed trains are also made by Germany’s Siemens and Canada’s Bombardier.

The V150 was made up of two normal cars that will run on the eastern TGV track, three double-decker carriages and three sets of motorised wheels. The train can develop over 25,000 horsepower, twice that of a conventional TGV…

Stories about train travel in Europe and Asia are always bittersweet news for Americans, where rail travel often remains on life-support and has been allowed to virtually wither on the vine.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • jwest

    U.S. rail service is a product of unions and liberal philosophy.

    Taxpayers subsidize Amtrak at a rate of $80,000/year/employee, while achieving a level of service formerly reserved for rail travelers to Auschwitz. Rejecting the concept of capitalism and market forces, granting lazy, uncaring employees virtual lifetime tenure and operating a business as a “social works� program will inevitably lead to failures like Amtrak.

  • Davebo

    U.S. rail service is a product of unions and liberal philosophy.

    This is a bit absurd.

    Taxpayers subsidize Amtrak at a rate of $80,000/year/employee

    Cite for this please?

    Obviously Amtrak is subsidized. But would you say it’s more subsidized than US airlines?

    Has the federal government payed 5 billion dollars into Amtrak in one year along with 10 billion dollars in federally subsidized loans?

    I don’t think so. But that’s what the nations airlines got after 9/11. Let’s put that in perspective. You could purchase United, American, Continental, and Delta outright for less than that.

    I love train travel in Europe, but I’ve never travelled any distance by train in the US. Why? Southwest Airlines. Quicker, much cheaper, and a fairly pleasant travel experience.

    And note, Southwest Airlines received no federal grants or loans after 9/11.

    So yes, train travel is not really compatible in the broad continent of N. America.

    But it’s not because of some delusion of unions.

  • DLS

    Only fools believe the problems with Amtrak merely require much more money to be solved or some greater “national commitment.”

    The first poster above makes me recall vividly the train that arrived nearly six hours late, with the dining car we all expected to use more than ever given the delay closed due to stupid union rules. Then, of course, there was no connecting train that we had all paid for, and we sat for hours in a parking lot in a bus instead before being taken onward.

    Imagine if we had “Amflight,” a federal airline. Would it or wouldn’t it be worse than Aeroflot?

  • DLS

    Davebo said:

    > So yes, train travel is not really compatible in the broad continent of N. America.

    Regional travel is the logical goal for any high-speed rail project (or between parts of megastates); it would be appealing for those of us who like traveling by rail, but we would probably not see “loss leader” connector routes between regions to enable crossing the entire continent by high-speed rail.

    > Southwest Airlines. Quicker, much cheaper, and a fairly pleasant travel experience.

    At least on Southwest, as opposed to Amtrak, the toilets work and aren’t overflowing.

  • Davebo

    it would be appealing for those of us who like traveling by rail, but we would probably not see “loss leader� connector routes between regions to enable crossing the entire continent by high-speed rail.

    We have them already.

    Want to go from Chicago to LA? Amtrak will get you there for a reasonable fare of $140.00. But it will take 3 days.

  • DLS

    Davebo said:

    > > “loss leader� connector routes between regions

    > We have them already.

    I was referring to thinly-trafficked high-speed rail routes between different regional high-speed systems.

  • AustinRoth

    So, with this new, fastest train in the world, the French can now break their own records for retreat and surrender!

  • MichaelF

    LMAO Good one Austin .

  • Danger Alain

    F..ck you AustinRoth ! If you’re thinking about war in Irak, now you KNOW there was no nuke or whatever, you KNOW that more soldiers died there than in the twins. Open your eyes : every amrican president needs its (it’s not a mistake) little war to justify the credits or to please its friends, gun reseller. Do you remember Viet-Nam ? Reagan in Grenade ? Shame on you ! surrender in front of Irak ? Intelligence, humanity, that’s the point ! If Bush wasn’t so dangerous, it would have been the funiest president ever. Useless to reply, I’m –> |]

  • AustinRoth

    Um, DA, you French or something? I fail to see why my little train joke set off THAT rant.

  • jwest

    Davebo,

    Amtrak subsidy = 1.5 Billion (Dems want to increase to 1.8)
    Amtrak employees = 19,000
    Subsidy per employee = $78,947

    My personal experience with Amtrak was years ago when I took a trip from Detroit to Chicago for Christmas shopping. DLS’s comment above basically mirrors my ride on the rails of indifference.

    Seeing an opportunity (as a capitalist conservative I can’t help it), I located 4 club cars available for lease. The plan was to pay Amtrak to add these cars to the back of their regularly scheduled service and to sell tickets at a large premium based on the level of service.

    When I contacted Amtrak to negotiate rates to haul these cars, they were quick to point out it was illegal to compete with them. I tried to explain to them the concept of competition, highlighting the fact I wasn’t planning to lay tracks side-by-side and actually provide riders with an alternative. My venture simply wanted to offer special cars at a high level of service for people willing to pay a high price. They would be free to abuse the masses as they saw fit.

    Needless to say, federal law and the union rules forbid any introduction of good service that would, by comparison, shine a bad light on government-run enterprises.

    The one saving grace of Amtrak is that it gives us a small glimpse into how HillaryCare would operate.

  • DLS

    Danger Alain: if it makes you feel any better, some of us wish that if we were in the Northeast we could enjoy the TGV and make Austin Roth’s words …

    > So, with this new, fastest train in the world,
    > the French can now break their own records
    > for retreat and surrender!

    … absolutely true for us as well, more rapidly and more often, avec les femmes quebecoises. *wink*

  • White Agent

    We are rapidly approaching the nationalization of several industries as the nation gets closer and closer to defaulting on government securities and the resulting national bankruptcy and possible war with China. Hopefully the hillbilly segment of our population will have not offended the Europeans so bad that they will not extend a hand down to help us up. I suspect that a National Healthcare System will be first implemented.

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