A sleek, black and chrome French train with oversized wheels has broken a world speed record for conventional rail, reaching a top velocity of nearly 575 kilometers per hour.
French television Tuesday showed sparks flying and a long tail of dust, as the specially built (V-150) train streaked through the French countryside. The train easily surpassed the old French record of 515 kilometers per hour set in 1990, and just missed the Japanese record (581 kph) for a train that levitates over magnetic track.
French manufacturer Alstom equipped the train with two 25,000 horsepower engines and three double-decker cars. It set the record on a newly-built track linking Paris with Strasbourg.
A modified version of the prototype train is set to begin passenger service between Paris and Strasbourg in June.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.