Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ, on board train V150 — (Reuters) In the Champagne area, a French TGV train sped past a newly constructed track on Tuesday at 574.8 kilometers per hour (357 mph), shattering the previous record. The president and prime minister both praised the accomplishment, which served as a morale booster for a country that takes pride in its technological prowess but is currently dealing with high unemployment and a trade deficit.
For the official attempt, journalists and other guests were transported on a special train named V150, an improved version of the trains that will begin operating on the Paris-Strasbourg line on June 10. This train has been in preparation for the record run for weeks.
The train started vibrating at about 380 kilometers per hour and got worse from there. Passengers started feeling a little dizzy around 490 kph. Despite the train’s steadiness, standing still at 540 km/h got challenging. The driver was smiling widely as he traveled at 570 km/h. Driver Eric Pieczak remarked, “We had no ғᴇᴀʀs — no birds, good weather, none of the issues we encountered during the tests.
A plane shooting the record-breaking journey was followed by spectators above bridges cheering as the chrome and black-colored train sped past. A “maglev” (magnetic levitation) train in Jᴀᴘᴀɴ achieved the absolute speed record for trains in 2003, reaching 581 kph (361 mph). These trains glide on a magnetic field rather than on tracks.
515.3 kph was the previous rail-based train speed record, which was achieved in Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ in 1990.
In order to showcase French engineering and increase the likelihood that French trains will be exported to new markets in South America, the Middle East, and the United States, engineering company Alstom joined forces with state rail company SNCF and track operator RFF.
In the next five to six years, the commercial speed of TGV trains could reach 350-360 kph, according to Philippe Mellier, chairman of Alstom’s transport division. Modern TGVs travel at 320 kph.
High-speed trains are produced by Siemens of Gᴇʀᴍᴀɴʏ and Bombardier of Cᴀɴᴀᴅᴀ, in addition to Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ’s Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) and Jᴀᴘᴀɴ’s Shinkansen.
Two standard cars that will operate on the eastern TGV track, three double-decker carriages, and two sets of motorized wheels make up the V150. It has larger-than-normal wheels and a power output of nearly 25,000 horsepower, which is double that of a typical TGV.
At 11:16 GMT, the record was set at Le Chemin between Prey, in the eastern part of Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ, and Bezannes, ᴄʟᴏsᴇ to Reims. Since the TGV began operations in 1981, several French regional airlines have gone out of business as a result of the competition from high-speed trains operating within Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ and on connections to London, Brussels, Cologne, and Amsterdam.
Let’s see the French train breaks the speed record in Champagne – TGV speed record 574,8 km/h in the video below.
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Video resource: Sándor Csaba