574.8 km/h? Steel Wheel on Rail Lives On!

Topic: Public Transport 13 years, 4 months ago

On Tuesday this week, a specially-modified trainset on the French TGV service set staggering new 574.8 km/h world speed record on conventional rail. Yes, on two steel rails with steel wheels turning — none of this maglev nonsense! ;)

That’s pretty fucking cool… can you imagine travelling just under 160 m every second? This smashes the previous record of 515.3 km/h set by an earlier TGV set in 1990, and they even came somewhat close to the ultimate rail speed record of 581 km/h set by the Japanese experimental MLX01 maglev train. Maglev is very cool technology too, but I still think conventional rail wins out on sheer excitement factor when you’re thinking about hurtling along at those speeds that close to the ground hoping you don’t come off the rails!

The TGV used to be the train system I loved as a kid and always went on about, despite the fact that I have never been to France. Having said that though, since my Japan trip I fell in love with the Shinkansen even more, with it’s incredible punctuality and otherwise sheer perfectness. Even Guillaume Peppy, the CEO of SNCF, the French national railway company that runs the TGV, admitted in the latest issue of International Rail Journal that reliability for a TGV Duplex train is still “60 times worse than Shinkansen reliability”! :grin:

SNCF will begin services along part of the new LGV Est Européenne linking Paris and Strasbourg in June this year — even if it’s “only” at 320 km/h!

An official video of the record-breaking is now up as well on the official website (see link below). Click the link on the left in the blue circle on the left to watch the video. Trust me, it’s worth your while (just ignore the bad commentary). It’s amazing how bloody fast that looks when it passes bridges and kicks up a cloud of dust behind it!

Watch the video: French Excellence in Very High Speed Rail: Alstom, RFF, SNCF

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