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The French today claimed the world's fastest "train on rails" title by accelerating a modified TGV to a white-knuckle 574.8km/h (356mph), the BBC reports. The previous record of 515km/h (320mph) was set in 1990, although a Japanese Maglev managed to reach a cool 581km/h (361mph) back in 2003. The high-speed dash was made at …

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574km/h !

Just watching this live on French TV. It's impressive to see the live images from a camera on the train roof aimed at the pantograph contact with the overhead wire at 550km/h! They're using a jet aircraft as a chase plane to relay the TV images.

Stunning to see it _cornering_ at 570km/h, and it has just peaked at 574.7km/h, before starting to decelerate.

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Anonymous Coward

TTGV

TTTGV

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Anonymous Coward

Youtube?

Anyone have the youtube link?

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Anonymous Coward

UK high-speed trains.

Just in case anyone needs a frame of reference, Virgin Rail's "high speed" Pendolinos top out at 140kph, with GNER's high-speed Intercity 125s managing no more than a meager 125kph.

Aren't our trains wonderful?

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sigh

wrong!

the old GNER's high-speed Intercity 125s ran at 125 mph

it is the new 225's that are kph (225kph is about 140mph)

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To the last guy who posted..

Sure you're not getting your units mixed up?

Intercity 125s run at 125mph and the Virgin Pendolinos are designed for 140mph though they currently run slower, iirc.

None of those crappy European metric speed units here, thank you!

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Don't stand too close

I was watching this this morning on BBC World, and the wind it generated as it went past seemed very powerful. They're going to have to seriously widen the gap between the fence and the track if they don't want to cause damage to anyone watching.

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Anonymous Coward

UK trains can go faster...

Just a quick note - our trains are measured in mph not kph so in actual fact, the Pendolinos actually can max at nearly 225kph...

1mph = 1.6kph (ish)

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YouTube Link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CEVYjVzTtI

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Anonymous Coward

Re: UK high-speed trains

While there is no doubt about it that our trains are much slower, these kph speeds for UK trains seem just wrong. A quick search on Google found a BBC article stating that for safety reasons the speed of Virgin's pendolinos were temporarily reduced to 110mph from 125 mph (201 kph) in November 2004.

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Re; UK high-speed trains

It's probably worth remembering that this speed was more than likely set on a dedicated TGV line (LGV - ligne a grande vitesse) - they can run on 'normal' track but are restricted to 137mph, or 220kph for our foreign cousins.

A number of UK trains are capable of 140mph *in theory* (these include Virgin's Pendolinos and GNER's '225' sets, possibly Eurostar sets as well) but by and large the trackwork on the UK network is so utterly crap that 125mph is a 'safe' maximum, except for testing purposes[*] of course, and on parts of the West Coast main line (Pendolino territory) the limit is 110mph as mentioned above.

I'll get me coat :-)

[*] - ISTR that a GNER unit got to 140mph between Grantham and Peterborough in tests a few years back.

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Maglev is not a rail system

"The previous record of 515km/h (320mph) was set in 1990, although a Japanese Maglev managed to reach a cool 581km/h (361mph) back in 2003."

Yes, indeed. However, the Maglev is a different system,

no rails, but magnetically sustained train.

Thus, TGV is the fastest system _on rails_.

This is about the effort/cost of having

each km compliant with that kind of speed. Rails are

cheaper (minor reinforcements) than brand new systems.

Ah yes, for some of the blokes above, no way any rails in

the UK, with only one nail out of 3 could sustain

anything close to 125 mph !

Herve (who was really scared in the Edimburgh/Glasgow train

last month, even under 100 mph).

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Anonymous Coward

In THEORY?

Simon Ward believes that UK trains are capable of 140 mph *in theory*.

Mr Ward... have you ever travelled with the Eurostar? That service is VERY MUCH capable of travelling at, and indeed in excess of, 140 mph. Just because the failure of British rail authorities to build a true high-speed line similar to a French LGV currently restricts the Eurostar from travelling at full speed while in Britain does not mean it is not capable of doing so.

The Eurostar crosses the tunnel from one end to the other in 27 minutes, and once exiting Calais Frethun, returns to standard TGV speeds on that line (~150 mph).

Once Phase 2 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project to St Pancras is complete, the service will use the same speeds on both sides of the tunnel.

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Re: In THEORY?

>Mr Ward... have you ever travelled with the Eurostar? That service is

>VERY MUCH capable of travelling at, and indeed in excess of, 140 >mph

Actually I have, first class yet, and I have to say it was a most enjoyable experience. Infinitely better than cattle-class on GNER.

Having read my original posting, I could have been clearer but I did not state that Eurostars etc. were incapable of running at 140mph(+) - a number of train sets, Eurostar included, are indeed capable of running at these speeds but to the best of my knowledge none of these are yet passed for *routine* (and 'routine' is the operative word here) 140mph running on the UK network - existing infrastructure and safety issues have a lot to do with this. In a similar vein, I doubt that revenue earning services on LGV Est will routinely run at 550kph+

However, as Mr. Paetow rightly points out, once phase 2 of the CTRL is complete the UK will have something that comes within a sniff of being called a true high-speed rail link.

Either way, 'chapeau' to SNCF and Alstom for pulling off a very impressive technical feat.

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Anonymous Coward

Super fast train time

I just watched this on French TV as well, getting *very* excited whilst my colleagues looked on with bemused indifference. The shots of the pantograph and the jet plane tracking the train were very well done.

It's up at France 2 now, you can see it here:

http://jt.france2.fr/13h/index-fr.php?jt=0&start=1765

I might try and think of an excuse to go for a journey on the new line this summer. 575km/h is *awesome*, I wonder how long until the passenger trains go that fast...

I wrote a short entry about the new record, with links to YouTube etc. here: http://princessbenelux.wordpress.com/2007/04/03/train-time-574-kmh-of-tgv-goodness/

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Anonymous Coward

A few little factlets to take the wind out ...

1. The TGV system is essentially two bigass locomotives on either end sandwiching a bunch of nearly-track-jumping lightweight carriages (if you don't believe that - ask the Koreans about the problems they've had with the KTX, it's the same system, they just run them a few cars longer than the TGV)

2. "latest-generation very high-speed train motorized bogies" my arse. The system is as old as high-speed rail (for the record, the original bullet train in Japan used them in 1964, and they still do to this day) so it's hardly an innovation

3. Notice that French used another shortened train, probably again with the bigger wheels, with extra juice on the overhead line and tautened catenary - not really operational conditions at any given day.

4. They STILL can't get the trains to run on time, and suspension/ride on the TGV system is *AWFUL* (they ought to fix aircraft style seatbelts, that would improve safety)

So, to cap it all - nice record, but utterly useless - again.

If you want real high speed innovation and development at work, you might like this:

http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/development/theme/comfortable/comfortable01.html

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Silver badge

Sure, its fast, but...

I bet they still dont run on time!

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Re: 'factlets' at 14.26

Um hello...

"suspension/ride on the TGV system is *AWFUL*" - um... compared to what? I've taken a lot of trains and it's very very smooth, particularly on the newer lines like Paris-Marseilles. As for punctuality, I've been late a couple of times over 3 years of fairly regular use - and it's been for good reasons (several inches of snow) and refunded promptly and politely.

Perhaps I'm very easily impressed after growing up with British trains (Oh look, the WAGN is cancelled again, we're going to increase fares by 10 times the rate of inflation) but I think you're being a bit harsh. Of course they used a shorter train - it's a test train to do a speed record!

PrincessBenelux X

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574.8 kph and no leaves on the track

@Matt Zywina

Oh boy, you are out of touch with times. Britain has already long ago decided for the metric system and the transition is far underway.

Amazing that we on an avantgarde tech site like El Reg should find an old geezer like you hanging on to Victorian measurement units ;-).

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Wrong road running?

Was that train wrong-road-running or do French TGV's run on the right normally?

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Wrong side track today

@John Winters

Yes, (only) for the record attempt today the TGV used the wrong track side, they mentioned it in the FR commentary.

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@Richard Foersom

"Britain has already long ago decided for the metric system and the transition is far underway."

Hmm. So you have no idea what you weigh in stones / pounds then, or your height in feet & inches or how many pints of milk you need when you go shopping? Or for that matter what the speed limit is.... Metric is handy for some things but I was brought up with imperial and you`d be amazed how many other people use it too (and i`m only 30 this year so hardly an "old geezer")

On the other hand the old dears out for a sunday drive appear to interpret the speed limits in kph rather than mph so maybe you have a point after all... ;-)

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Max speed

The SNCF, RFF and Alsthom used this test for 3 goals :

a) a symbol of national pride

b) proof of concept against Japanese and German high speed trains that the TGV's a better (and therefore export more TGV's)

c) proove that the new TGV's are safe at it's commercial crusing speed: 350 kph.

The SNCF want to run their TGV's with a 200 kph safety margin as to be sure that the rolling stock, signals and tracks can take the stress of a regular high speed service. This is why after the 515 kph record, TGV's never went faster than 315, and on the new Paris-Strasbourg line, the programmed service speed is supposed to be 350.

SNCF agents were secretly hoping for the train to bust the 600 kph...

I remember reading an interview with the driver of the 1990 record, and he said that he was sh*****g bricks as the train wanted to take off after 500... but RFF said yesterday that the 600 kph barrier would probably be their next record attempt.

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@Matt White

Britain is changing to metrics unit, that is for sure. Look around you! At the petrol station do you buy in litres or gallons? At the supermarket the milk is sold in litres, but additionally indicated in pints. Look in the news metric is used, with imperial units as optional extras. If you are 30 years old you too have for sure learnt metric in school, unless you only went to school in the breaks between the classes ;-).

Stone = 14lb? What kind of joker came up with this meassurement units? The whole thing gets even worse when you realise that thee are only 3! other countries in the world that uses non-metric units, and among this small club there is not even a consensus on the size of a gallon. Laughable!

It is high time that you and your name-friend Matt joins the world. SI metrics is everywhere and for good reasons!

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