AGV running regularly at 360 km/h

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AGV on the Velim circuit in the Czech Republic.

The Railway Gazette carries an informative article describing how, after 4 months of testing on the Velim test track in the Czech Republic, the Alsom built AGV demonstrator train has been running on the Champagne-Ardenne to Lorraine section of the LGV Est. Although, on the Velim circuit the trains have been limited to a maximum of 125 mph (200 km/h), on the LGV Est they are being run at their designed top service speed of 225 mph (360 km/h).

Currently the record holders for the world’s fastest service trains are the Chinese who are running at up to 219 mph (350 km/h) on the Beijing and Tianjin Inter City Railway, which was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The French – who hold the world record for the fastest ever run of a steel wheel on steel rail technology train of 359.25 mph (574.8 km/h) – currently run their service trains on the LGV Est at 200 mph (320 km/h). Eight countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom) run service trains at up to 187.5 mph (300 km/h). Although the United Kingdom has a place on this list, 300 km/h running occurs only on the short Channel Tunnel Rail Link or ‘HS1’, elsewhere the highest service speed is limited to 125 mph (200 km/h).

It is a sad reflection of the priority that the UK government gave to its railways, its railway industry and the revolutionary technology being developed by the BR Research Laboratory in Derby, that Britain’s tilting Advanced Passenger Train – which was designed to operate at 155 mph (250 km/h) on existing railways lines – was abandoned in the 1980s.


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