The French high-speed train TGV set the new speed record for trains today with 356mph/574.7km/h.
I just saw the record train ride on TV. 356mph is really fast. The train operator actually cannot see anything on the outside anymore. He just 'flies' via the instruments. Two other guys have to support him in operating the train.
To reach this speed the tracks between Paris and Strasbourg had been prepared especially for this speed run. Also for a short time the voltage in the power lines got upped. The TGV V150 train itself has larger wheels and two engines providing for 25,000hp.
Unofficially TGV would have liked to beat the Japanese magnetic levitation train speed record of 361mph/581km/h. They missed it only by a small margin today. I guess next time the TGV engineers will beat that absolute speed record for a train.
This new speed record is great marketing for TGV. They of course want to sell their new train generation world-wide. In France the TGV trains are already a real alternative to domestic flights.
See also the TGV site and this press-release.