February 6, 08
Alstrom Unveils 225 mph AGV Super-Fast EcoTrain

French engineering firm Alstom rolled out the Automotrice Grande Vitesse on Tuesday capable of traveling at 224 miles per hour. The high speed of the AGV train is due to the inclusion of a motor in each carriage. With the absence of locomotives at both ends of the train, more passengers could be accommodated.

Newly wed French President Nicolas Sarkozy attended the launch of the AGV at the company's test center at La Rochelle. "That we are here today is testimony to the courage of Alstom, because during its worst period it decided not to sacrifice its research and development," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy, when he was Finance Minister in 2004, saved Alstom from a takeover attempt by Siemens of Germany, which planned to dismantle the company. The lesson of Alstom's perseverance is that industry is vital for the economy of a rich as well as emerging nation, the president said.

At its new speed, the new AGV trains can log 600 miles (1,000 km) within 3 hours, making it on part with air travel, said Patrick Kron, executive chairman of Alstom.

On April, a TGV or bullet train, an older version of the AGV, broke world rail speed record by reaching a speed of 357.1 m/hr (574.8 km/hr).