A bunch of cunts, mostly in the Australian sense. Except that one guy.

French Engineering

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6521295.stm

Watch the video, especially the side on shots half way through. Wow.
Permalink el 
April 4th, 2007 4:31am
That's unbelievable for a train on standard rails, it's just barely below the maglev record speed. How did they do it?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 4th, 2007 5:05am
it runs on peace fries.
Permalink $-- 
April 4th, 2007 6:31am
Upped the voltage, put a more powerful engine on it, and added bigger wheels.


{mental image of the TGV on chrome 24" wheels}
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 8:46am
'ow you say, overclocking?
Permalink trollop 
April 4th, 2007 8:49am
I remember the first one I saw, in the orange livery. It had tinted windows for the driver. This train is wearing sunglasses was my thought.
Permalink el 
April 4th, 2007 9:18am
And you make the rails really, really, REALLY flat and smooth.

Still, it's cheaper than mag-lev.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 4th, 2007 9:21am
kind of surreal to have a train getting close to the speed of a spitfire.
Permalink $-- 
April 4th, 2007 9:53am
We could never do this in the US because Amtrak can't afford to buy the land near the major cities that it would serve.

They're trying to get high-speed rail into the Southeast, but high-speed to Amtrak means 100mph, not 300mph.
http://www.sehsr.org/
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 12:00pm
I think this article mentions a SF/LA train built by the French. At least a possibility.

Looking at the photo I don't know what extra land is needed. The current Amtrak tracks are no smaller. The problem for Amtrak is that it plays second fiddle to freight service.

What it needs is to buy its own land/track outside of cities, and persuade freight to hand over track within the cities (as if there is much freight handling in Penn Station at all).
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 4th, 2007 12:28pm
That's a good point.  The track that (very profitable) freight trains use has 100 car x 80 tons each coal trains rolling down them, at 30 miles an hour.

The track that a TGV uses is laid by a machine which insures it is very flat and smooth, with very gradual curves.  Running an 80 ton coal car on that track would probably screw it up for the next run of the high-speed train.

And why spend all this money on high-speed trains, when we have perfectly good high-speed airplanes that work fine?  I love trains as much (if not more) than the next guy, but even I have to admit that train passenger service in the U.S. is hardly ever profitable.

If the U.S. is going to INSIST that passenger trains must pay their own way (and not be a required service paid for by the profitable freight service on the same tracks) then the profitable corridors for passenger trains in the U.S. are pretty few.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 4th, 2007 1:13pm
Yeah, that's the other aspect to the problem.  Freight trains just destroy the tracks & especially the gravel bed the tracks get laid in/on.  For high-speed rail (in the Shinkansen or TGV sense) to work, it needs it's own track. 
And no grade-level crossings, either.  Stalled 1972 Ford F-150 towing a trailer full of pigs vs. 300mph passenger train == not pretty.
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 1:22pm
> train passenger service in the U.S. is hardly ever profitable.

It's not profitable because they charge too much. :)

Last weekend I was on a Boston-NYC Greyhound and overheard not one, but two, train conversations. Basically it was: "I'd love to take the train but a $120 train ticket doesn't compare to a $30 bus ticket". They'd love to pay more for a nicer ride, but not 4x more. They would definitely pay more if the trip took only 1 hr instead of 4. The whole NE corridor is like that.

And the buses are packed. 40 people every half hour take the Boston-NYC route (unlike other Greyhound routes this one is not just for poor people, the aisles are alit in the glow of laptops).

Never thought that freight trains degrade the tracks, that's interesting. It's odd freight is doing so well. People have complained that truck freight has obliterated the long hauls.

Who knows, maybe train service works in more authoritarian or more communal countries where right of way is used to build the straightest track possible.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 4th, 2007 2:51pm
I wonder if I'll be alive when they build a trans-Atlantic train.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
April 4th, 2007 10:13pm
yeah, train seems expensive in US and Canada. What's that about?
Permalink $-- 
April 5th, 2007 5:05am
Passenger trains are expensive everywhere.  The big difference is that most places provide Government support for the trains, so the passengers don't pay the entire cost.

Since Government regularly provides dollars for transportation support (road maintenance, airport construction and maintenance) why in heaven's name the U.S. Government INSISTS that trains pay their own way, I don't know.

And most other governments find that HAVING trains supports their economies, so it's worth it to them to support it.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 5th, 2007 9:17am
Hmm... I wonder if where the land is expensive they could pay less for small footprints where there would be pillars supporting elevated track. Stuff could still be built underneath.

Granted, a condo 'neath the tracks probably wouldn't go for much.
Permalink JoC 
April 5th, 2007 4:21pm

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