Speed challenge train unveiled

A train designed by Alstom to challenge the world rail speed record was unveiled in Paris on Monday as part of the ‘French Excellence in Very High Speed Rail Transport’ programme.

The train that will perform the record run, dubbed ‘V150’ after it’s target speed of 150 metres per second, was showcased at the SNCF’s European East Technicenter.

The attempt on the rail speed record is organised by Réseau Ferré de France, Alstom Transport and SNCF. Beyond the technical achievement, the trials conducted at very high speed serve as a real-life test of the performance and reliability of the infrastructure and material.

The attempt on the record rounds off a programme of trials designed to test, measure and validate the aerodynamic behaviour and stability of the trainset, its bogies, current collection capabilities, the quality of wheel-rail contact, the behaviour of the new AGV traction equipment and of the track, tunnels, bridges and overhead line.

Since 15 January 2007, a team of over 40 RFF, Alstom and SNCF engineers and technicians has been taking part in tests conducted under real life conditions, as part of the V150 programme. Infrastructure, materials, internal and external measurement tools and controls and exterior conditions, have all been studied in minute detail and prepared ahead of the record attempt, during which the aim is to reach a speed of 540km/h, or 150 metres per second.

Adaptations to the infrastructure of the LGV (Ligne à Grande Vitesse) high-speed line and to the materials used were needed in order to obtain the necessary quality, aerodynamics and power. These included preventative grinding of the track, adjustments to the overhead line voltage and measures to reduce rolling resistance.

The V150 is made up of two POS power cars, three TGV Duplex double-decker carriages and three AGV motorised bogies. In total, the V150 can develop an output of 19.6MW, against 9.3MW for a conventional TGV and almost twice as much power as is developed by all the cars present on the grid at the start of a Formula 1 Grand Prix race.