Aboard the fastest TGV in the world
French Excellence in Very High Speed Rail: Alstom, RFF, SNCF [Macromedia Flash Player]
"Under the Hood" of a TGV
TGV Historic Photos
The True Experiences of Officer Harold Sewell [Real Player]
In many parts of the world, trains whisk passengers from city to city quickly. This past Tuesday, a high-speed train moved a group of people very quickly through the French countryside, and along the way, it broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains. Powered by two engines, this TGV (an acronym for "high-speed train" in French), reached 357.2 miles per hour at one point, effectively breaking the previous TGV record set in 1990. Along the way, a television crew caught the train drivers smiling as they realized they had broken the record, and spectators cheered and clapped as the train rushed by. TGV trains have been in service since 1981, and they generally travel at about 186 miles per hour, but starting in June they will be allowed to travel at approximately 200 miles per hour on the Paris to Strasbourg line. After the demonstration was completed, French President Jacques Chirac commented, "Economically efficient and respectful of the environment, the TGV is a major asset in efforts to ensure sustainable development in transport." For the future, the hope is that TGV trains will be purchased in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and potentially California.
The first link for visitors leads to a piece from the BBC News about the recent speed record, complete with footage of the trip. The second link will lead users to an article from the Times' Ben Webster, who was onboard during Tuesday's record-setting trip. Moving along, the third link leads to the webpage created by the train's manufacturers (the Alstom company) that provides a behind-the-scenes video, safety information, and a glimpse into the train's workings. For those who love to know about the operations of these mighty machines, the fourth link will be a real find. Offered by TrainWeb, this site details the various workings of the TGV's power electronics, including the main transformer and the thyristor controlled rectifier-bridge. The fifth link whisks users away to a very short film from 1938 that tells how one brave officer saved a train from certain disaster with the use of a mere flashlight. The trusty flashlight happened to be powered by Eveready batteries, and the Eveready Corporation sponsored the film. Finally, the last link leads to a nice online collection of different TGV trains in action from the past several decades.