Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Another TGV Speed Record

Jump to Comments

Earlier this month came word that the SNCF’s TGV set an unofficial speed record during tests on the new Paris-Strasbourg line, reaching a maximum speed of 553 km/h. By unofficial, they mean that this is not the “official” record attempt; that’s supposed to take place in April.

What does 553 km/h look like? Something like this:

(A photo is here.)

Now for some background information, for which Wikipedia’s page on TGV speed records is useful. Every so often, when the SNCF opens a new high-speed rail line, they run tests on the line that invariably involve a new world train speed record attempt: they did so in 1981 before the southeast line opened, and again in 1990 when the southwest line opened. Some video footage of the 1990 attempt has made it to YouTube. If you can understand French, see this video; otherwise, there is this shorter video (in English with Dutch subtitles).

So now they’re trying again, with a target speed reportedly around 540-570 km/h. Note that this is on specially designed testing portions of the track; the trains’ normal cruising speed is somewhere around 300 km/h, where it still takes eight kilometres for a trainset to come to a stop. Don’t expect 500+ km/h on anything other than a maglev any time soon.

Via TrainBlog: 1, 2.


  • They’ve actually reached 559km/h in the meantime. But still no official record. And regular top speed on the TGV Est line will be 320km/h.

    What nobody’s talking about, but might actually be even more impressive that the specially modified trainset that is doing the 500+km/h speeds is accompanied by a regular TGV POS trainset. Whenever they’re doing another run, the regular set will go down the track first and then the specially modified one will follow. On these runs, that regular TGV POS trainset (unmodified except for slightly larger wheels) reaches 370-380km/h, which is the same speed as the 1981 record. But now, those speeds can be reached with an unmodified train.

  • Thats an amazing video. I can sort of imagine being there watching that thing speed past. I like the way it took that corner…just crazy.