French Engineers Set Rail Record — With a Bullet

May 8, 2007

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In April, a French-engineered high-speed train with a souped-up engine broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains, surpassing 354.1 mph. The French engineering team is not the only one on track to provide super-fast trains, though, nor was its intention simply to break a record. It is also big business.

Early last month, French engineers nearly broke the record set by Japan's magnetically elevated high-speed train that ran at 361 mph (581 kph) in 2003. Although it fell short of that ultimate record in 2003, the super-fast French train still set a record for conventional rail trains: reaching 357 mph (574.8 kph), it was faster than any humans had ever traveled in a train on rails.

With a souped-up engine, the high-speed French train — codenamed V150 — also required new tracks with greater banking on the curves and special larger wheels than the usual train

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