When I say France, what comes to your mind?
Wine? Cheese? Romance?
How about high-speed trains?
SNCF, the French train company has, for years, operated a network of high-speed trains called TGV (train à grande vitesse or ‘frickin fast train‘ [emphasis added]).
Despite (or due to?) being phallic enough to make Freud blush (see picture), the TGV is definitely the BFG 9000 of the train world. These trains hold the current WORLD RECORD for the fastest train – on rails.
The record is 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) which is literally faster than (some) speeding bullets. Not surprisingly, putting yourself in front of a TGV is an effective and not uknown method of suicide.
Despite their capabilities, the TGV are actually only operated up to 320 km/h (200 mph), for reasons of safety and sanity. This is still enough to earn them another world record: THE fastest scheduled rail journey.
During my commute home yesterday, I activated my phones GPS and, using my tricorder app (yup, I said it: tricorder), noted a speed of 75 meters a second, or 149 mph. And its still so smooth you’ll never spill your drink.
The only ‘trains’ faster (by 4mph) than the TGV are the Japanese maglev trains, which blur the line between train and aircraft.
The picture at top is an SNCF TGV POS, the unfortunately named newest addition to the SNCF lineup.
Have a good one.