Tuesday, April 03, 2007

French bullet train to break a new record


I will express a bit of a national pride today... The French bullet train, also known as TGV (for Train à Grande Vitesse) will try to break a new world record today (Tuesday). Officially Alstom - the company that makes it - announced that they will try to reach 540 Km/h (336 mph) but in everybody's mind the real goal is to reach 600 Km/h (373 mph) which is faster than many small planes. Of course this does not mean the train will run at this speed eventually (it would be far too expensive) but that it is the fastest in the world. It's important of the image of the company especially if they want to sell it abroad.

73 comments:

  1. Ah, oui, c'est beau, ça!!! Cocorico!! ;)

    Allons enfants de la patrie... entendez vous dans les campagne...
    le TGV qui va de plus en plus vite ...

    Careful guys, don't break the sound barrier just yet, or you'd drive the cows crazy, and then what will you get? Mad cow disease! (Groan. Yeah, I know... Well, it's Monday, here! )

    Never mind, it's a beautiful picture of a beautiful thing. Go TGV! Now what was that about Alstrom ? ;)

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  2. Alstom, Tomate,
    Let's hope they do make 600 k/p.

    Eric,
    Sorry, but I beat you to it, but only because of the time difference of course !
    See the Fastest train in Adelaide here, Adelaide Daily Photo

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  3. Go Alstom! We are rooting for the one on the left. That is just a Pittsburgh joke leftover from Kennywood Park.

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  4. Great photo of two sleek machines! I would like to recommend them to our city fathers, but I think it's a lost cause. Americans are too much in love with their automobiles.

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  5. Eric you have all the reasons to be proud! TGV is fantastic. Wow, it's going really fast isn't it? Funny that when we're inside of it we don't notice a thing and then like five minutes later we realise we arrived in London! Or Brussels!

    For a girl like me, living in a huge, I mean huuuge country such as Brazil, and not having this fantastic railway system, it's really awesome to see how easily you guys can get around from one country to another, or even one city to another.
    For instance, here, our neighbor state is 498 miles away from Rio! And no TGV's in sight!!!

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  6. This shot of the front part of these trains look like that futuristic car, the Delorean, from the movie Back to the future

    Does anybody remember it?

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  7. correction, not 498 miles! 498 kilometers.

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  8. This is definitely "Out in Front". However, I am worried already. An obstacle on the tracks could create a horrible disaster. I just hope the tracks are better than those here in the States. Love the dynamic duo shot.

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  9. Michael, did you know that the other day the newspapers revealed that during the 70's Brazil bought several trains from Alstom but due to sheer incompetence the government was never able to put it in operation? The people here never knew this story up to now.

    Billions and billions wasted, from our pockets!

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  10. Eric, good luck for the TGV. This shot is a very powerful image of strength. Kind of scary really.
    It's hard to imagine 600 km/h. In Adelaide, the speed limit on suburban roads is 60 km/h. On the freeway, one can travel 110 km/h in South Australia but in Victoria, one must drop down to 100km/h as the maximum speed.
    Contrary to M.B's histoire, we do have some modern trains in Adelaide!

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  11. Excellent photo of your high speed train M.Benaut! And again, you are doing such a great service as an honorary(?) employee!

    Monica...that's very interesting to me. In Brazil, we have many opportunities there now and a great team in Sao Paolo. Maybe one day you'll be whizzing around that beautiful country by high speed train!

    And yes Tomate, he did say Alstom! LOL

    Johnny...shhhhhh!

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  12. Oh my! How could I forget?

    Awesome photo Eric! And my thanks for the promo! Regardless of my affiliation with the company, the French TGV is really a fantastic method of travel and technology.

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  13. So have you ever heard the story of the chicken gun?

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  14. M. Benault...I went back to leave a comment on your blog but couldn't open it. It's a great post today! I'll try again later, I promise.

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  15. I have my fingers crossed Michael! Tell those people in Sao Paulo to work hard, sure am counting on them!!!

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  16. Good luck France!

    I wish we had something like this in the USA. We are just too addicted to our cars. Since my husband can't drive, this would be a lot more convenient for us to travel around. Heck, I'd even get him to play his piano on board if they'd let him! Maybe "Take the A Train" would be appropriate!

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  17. Metaphysicalmama, I would get on this train anytime!!!

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  18. I'll have to take a fun day trip aboard one of these zippy looking trains next time I'm in Paris. I rode the Eurostar, which I liked (but it was scary to think we were under all that water).

    It's too bad that long-distance trains aren't very popular in the U.S. I remember that Sex and the City episode where Samantha boards a train from New York to L.A., takes one look around, and says, "Now I know why there was a murder on the Orient Express!" Pretty funny.

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  19. These trains are awesome - we travelled on one from Paris to St Brieuc, and the only time we were aware of how fast we were going was when we went in and out of the tunnels outside Paris - ear pain!

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  20. TGV it's a great train. I got it several time (it arrives in Italy in Torino and then to Milan) and its comfort is superb. Go ahead France !!!

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  21. Merci de tes bons voeux, Eric! Je suis impatiente d'inaugurer le DP d'Ajaccio!

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  22. Eric : So, don't you think you're making enough money with that PDP of yours that you need to promote multinational companies and sell your soul to globalized capitalism ?!!!
    ;o)

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  23. Great photo Eric and good luck Michael with the record! We want to see the result so let us know.

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  24. gg-lutte finaaaale: If Eric's making huge money out of a Daily Photo site, i'd a) be mystified and b) be desperate to know how!

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  25. Lynn : You don't know how much you might be mystified by Eric ! LOL

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  26. Even trains co-operate with the photographer! All sleek and pretty side by side, posing nicely before the big event.

    In 21 days my birthday (which honestly, thinking about the trip to Paris I pushed back as a non event). In 22 days I/We leave for Paris and in 23 days we will be there among rainbow poles, yellow mail boxes, red and blue umbrellas, and sleek silver trains. Monsiur Eric Monsiur Michel and Monsiur Fred will bump into me on the street and say pardon...........

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  27. By now the race is on. For those outside of France, go to 'France 24'.

    http://www.france24.com/

    Fingers crossed and good luck TGV

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  28. Congratulations, Eric! I'm glad that you signalled it in your post. BBC tells me that the record was more than broken. Well deserved!

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  29. gg: Really. Do go on.


    Eric & Michael: Yay, just watched it on the news. You did it! Great news and it was quite exciting to watch the journey. Saw the countryside flashing past and all the engineers etc. on board too (very understated excitement i must say; thought it was the British who did that lol). The added bonus of course was..... dun dun dur.... the driver's name was ERIC !!! What fun.

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  30. Well it's done! Everyone was in the lobby of the company watching it live. The final stats are in:

    574.8 km/h: Alstom Transport’s V150 trainset sets a new world rail speed record. Mission accomplished : the V150 trainset has reached a speed of 574.8 km/h at kilometre point 191 on the new East European LGV™ high-speed line, in France. At 1.13 pm CET, on Tuesday 3 April, V150 pushed back exceeded by 59.5km/h the previous world rail speed record established in 1990.

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  31. HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS ERIC AND MICHAEL. WE WILL SEE YOU IN STRASBOURG AND PARIS. - BOTH IN THE SAME MORNING

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  32. Congratulations! So you guys did it, great!
    Who needs plains after all?!

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  33. Wow! at 350mph, that will dramatically reduce the commute time to work!
    Love this Twin Bullets shot.

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  34. Bravo Michael ! I hope you won't disdain RER though and make us the honor of a visit in Le Vésinet this summer !

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  35. Monica : BTW did you make it with Thalys to Brussels ? Practical and agreable, isn't it ?

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  36. Congratulations Michael on your company's achievement - very exciting! And those are great photos Eric!

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  37. gg, yes I rode the Thalys to Brussels. Very practical yes! And confortable and fast!

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  38. Internet news today is filled with the achievement of the bullet train--a timely photo, Eric!

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  39. For those who might be interested -sorry this is only in French-, you can find here (http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3232,36-891153,0.html) a short article in Le Monde, that sets quite well the good potential and the possible side effects of the TGV on the land planning (our beloved french "aménagement du territoire")

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  40. Absent for a couple of days and I miss exciting news about trains.

    I guess if Michael ever quits Alstom w would have to boo the company. Until then, congrats.

    Eric I like the colors although not as bright as most of what I have seen on your blog, and congrats to you too.

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  41. Fantastic!! I'll take two!! LOL!!!

    I wish we had TGV trains here in the US!!! Now that gasoline is reaching nearly $4.00 per gallon[in California]perhaps we soon will!!

    On the radio News this morning in SF they did a story on this train and the reporter said.."Well...so much for waving at a friend going by on the train"...thought that was cute!

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  42. gg-lutte finaaaale: LOL. And don't forget, we also know that Eric goes to Starbucks, ha!

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  43. KPGallant: the distances are a little bit bigger in the US :) so I suspect it would cost a great deal more to put together the infrastructure.

    Yesterday, they had an interesting documentary on the California Zephyr (I think this is the link but I'm not sure) on PBS, did you see it?

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/streamliners/filmmore/index.html

    It used to travel from Chicago to Oakland. Now that's kind of a cool trip. It went out of business. People in the US prefer cars for short distance and planes, of course.

    (By the way, about a previous comment you made on the blog, I'd be happy to meet for coffee with you and some of the other Bay ARea commenters - Clo, Buzzgirl, etc., but not at these French joints of Belden Ave. In my opinion, these places are -with the possible exception of Cafe Bastille - only tourist traps with average food at best and a big price tag. If you guys want to meet informally, email me privately at the address on the Tomate profile and I'll try to put it together, but no guarantee because I keep a busy schedule these days, unfortunately)

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  44. Tomate I did not see an email at Tomate profile.

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  45. Tomate : i'm glad you LOLed at my saying. It seems my silly Nasty-GG humor doesn't work that well in English !

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  46. Clo - okay keep em guessing though.

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  47. Johnnyparsons: a belated thankyou for the info regarding shipment to the US from FNAC etc. It opens up a new range of possibilities...

    /francophile

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Clo: I fixed it, thanks for letting me know. :-)

    Nasty GG lutte finale: Some things do get lost in translation, but in this case, I don't think it's a language thing but possibly has more to do with cultural differences?

    Tiens avec ta "lutte finale" tu m'as rappelé mon enfance, les manifs des étudiants au Quartier Latin, tout ça. Sympa (surtout vu d'ici)! Thanks! :)

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  50. I just saw the video footage of the train on cnn.com. Awesome! Congratulations to France and Eric, and also to Michael. It all must be pretty exciting!

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  51. Thanks everyone. It was an exciting day at work with everyone watching the television set up in our lobby. The great thing was when we turned around, we could see people off the street looking in the windows to watch as well. It was a real time to feel proud.

    GG...yes to Le Vésinet this summer. Always a pleasure to escape to the "country" for the day.

    kpgallant & Tomate - there was a California Congresswoman or Mayor aboard the record-breaking TGV, "testing" it for a possible purchase for a route between two cities in California. So...it may be sooner than you think (yeah, right!)

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  52. I forgot all about this!!! If you want to build your own TGV, click here and you'll have all different models you can print and put together. Now everyone can have their own TGV!

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  53. Stu "El Inglés" Harris - Thanks for the video! It was awesome! You know that driver really wanted to go even faster.

    GG...did you notice the countryside going by??? I think I saw José Bové in the background as well!

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  54. Stu "El Inglés" Harris..Merci for the link to the video!! Incroyable!! When it went under the bridge with the people on top my heart jumped!! I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be on that bridge!!

    Michael..If you see those California folks...try to twist their arms to buy this train! LOL!!

    tomate...will email you! My whole schedule changes next week, and it will be crazy for a while, but I would love the SF fans of PDP to connect!! I agree, those so-called "French" places in the alley are a waste of money! The "Boulange Cafes" owned by Bay Breads are pretty good, or Bistro Clovis on Market or Le Zinc in Noe Valley aren't bad!! kpg

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  55. Well, Michael, do I get to have un cafe one day to meet you, too svp? Any other cdg bloggers out there who want to meet up?

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  56. I heard about the new record on the radio driving to work this morning. I immediately thought of Michael, but I only now had time to steal from work and comment on PDP. Congratulations to Alstom, France, and of course Michael. Nice photo as well, Eric. It would be fun to see such "space ship" trains in the Metiers Metro station because of the visual, though of course that's impossible.

    My buddy will be joining me on the trip, and we will ride the TGV from Nice to Paris. I promised lunch to Eric for his Festival de Romans award. I guess I'll have to buy Michael a glass of wine. Aww, I probably would have anyway. What are you guys doing the evening of April 26? By the time I check into l'hotel, I'll be getting hungry!

    A bientot, mes amis.

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  57. Oh i'm so jealous, Jeff. Sharing a glass with Michael, Eric and the like, in Paris of all places. Ohh the injustice, the injustice.

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  58. I just watched a video on MSN.com of the train as it hit the record 574.8 km/h. That suckah was flyin', baby!

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  59. Pffff, I'm happy they managed to break the record... It would have been a real shame otherwise!

    Michael I bet you must be proud to work for Alstom now!!

    Thank you everyone for your nice congratulations messages. I hope this will help us sell more trains outside France ;)

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  60. I just saw the vid too. Yay France!

    Back to work. I've gotta have 300 invitations printed up tonight! *eek!*

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  61. KPG: I'm pretty sure we're annoying the non-Bay Area commenters with our little exchange here, so I won't expand too much after this, but we're shooting for end of April right now, probably something low key where we can all get a cup of coffee and hang out for a little while. (Zinc in Noe Valley looks very good but somewhat pricey. I'm more of Crepevine person myself, you know. I guess I have simple taste, but I think it's unFrench to pay tons of money for a plate of food) ;) Personally, I was thinking about something along the lines of a good coffee shop for a first meeting, a place where we can just hang out and maybe snack and a little. And if they have a liquor license, even better. But like I said, we should probably take this discussion some place else. Mille excuses, Eric :)

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  62. Shazam – 574.8 km/h – Wow! If we had a train like that in Selma I could get to New York in less than an hour (direct no stops). It takes me five hours on a good day to fly to New York.
    Congratulations - France - TGV
    (more pictures please)

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  63. Eric: Just so you know, they did a little segment on the new TGV tonight on local news on TV. You can see the segment on their website here:

    http://cbs5.com/national/local_story_093180719.html

    Good job, whoever built that thing. Atks.. strom or Atom, or something like that? ;)

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  64. Félicitations! But have a look at the japanese shinkansen to see a really beautiful train: http://kitakami-photoblog.blogspot.com/2007/04/flicitations-au-tgv.html

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  65. American National Public Radio carried a story about the record speed! I love your "dueling trains" photo. They look like two contenders for the title about to set off.
    -Kim

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  66. I found another video (in English) of the TGV breaking the speed record. You can see it here.

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  67. How awesome! We americans are so crap at this. Too many lobbyists and screwed up politicians. Congratulations France!

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  68. I know this is several posts old, but I just discovered this bit of news which is pretty interesting:

    The train now arriving at Piccadilly has just generated enough electricity to power a home for three months.

    The Pendolino tilting trains which run between London and Manchester have unique braking systems which push power back to the National Grid every time they slow down.

    A typical journey generates about 750 kWh of electricity - a quarter of a household's annual need.

    Research by Virgin Trains and Alstom, which maintains them, shows that the Pendolino fleet, which covers 13 million miles a year, is generating about 55 million kWh of power a year for the National Grid.

    This is enough to provide electricity to power 13,750 homes for a year.

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  70. Great post! I want to see a follow up on this topic!?

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