French trains faster than ever, cheeses still smelly

Vincent Kessler/Reuters

A high-speed train recently set a new rail speed record in France, causing numerous Amtrak riders to choke on their liberty fries. The TGV doubledecker train shot from Paris to Strasbourg at 357.2 miles (officially, 574.8 kilometers) per hour. Two engines drove three cars with slightly enlarged wheels and a power boost from the usual 25,000 to 31,000 volts. The train was piloted by engineers wearing shirts emblazoned with the words "French Excellence" and cheered by crowds on bridges.

The historic trip surpassed the previous conventional-rail record, set by a TGV train in 1990, by 37 mph. However, it fell short of the fastest train on record, a Japanese maglev, by a razor-thin margin of 3.9 mph. TGV trains typically travel at 201.9 mph on the newly opened Paris-Strasbourg line and 186.4 mph elsewhere. Of course, at speeds like that, you can't admire the pretty scenery, like that between New York and Washington.

BBC, via Shoutwire and The New York Times