>Indeed. Anyone who's ridden the TGV has experienced this (I have,
>several times on 3 different TGV lines.) OTOH, this has much more to
>do with the _zillions_ the French spend on track maintenance, and the
>fact that no freight trains ride and pound the TGV lines, than the
>precise nature of the software.
Track maintenance is clearly important, but the fact that the French went out
and spent masses on actually building long, straight stretches of *new* track
specifically for the TGV is, I believe, the most significant factor. Essentially
this allowed them to concentrate on making the train go fast safely without
having to worry about making it more complex than was really needed.
You can contrast this to the British Rail APT. This train, from the early '80s,
was designed to go very fast (relatively speaking for the time) - I can't
remember how fast, but it was something around or above 150mph (240km/h).
Despite the effort put into it, and many technoclogical advances that were
involved, it died a death because it was so unreliable - particularly due to the
electronically controlled tilting mechanism that was designed to reduce the
forces on the passengers when going round bends on the existing British rail
To an extent this is more than just a contrast between trains, but between
cultures. If Britain ever decided to build long, straight tracks like this then
it would end up massively over budget, particularly due to the cost of delays
and security to stop the protestors getting on site, and getting them off
But anyway - that's politics, not Ada.