A Chinese passenger train hit a record speed of 486kph on Friday during a test run of a yet-to-be opened link between Beijing and Shanghai, state media said.
The Xinhua news agency said it was the fastest speed recorded by an unmodified conventional commercial train. Other types of trains in other countries have traveled faster.
A specially modified French TGV train reached 574.8kph during a 2007 test, while a Japanese magnetically levitated train sped to 581kph in 2003.
State television footage showed the sleek white train whipping past green farm fields in eastern China.
It reached the top speed on a segment of the 1,318km long line between Zaozhuang City in Shandong Province and Bengbu City in Anhui Province, Xinhua said.
The line is due to open in 2012 and will halve the current travel time between the capital Beijing and Shanghai to five hours.
The project is projected to cost about US$32.5 billion and is part of a massive government effort to link many of China’s cities by high-speed rail and reduce overcrowding on heavily used lines.
China already has the world’s longest high-speed rail network, and it plans to cover 13,000km by 2012 and 16,000km by 2020.
The drive to develop high-speed rail technology rivals China’s space program in terms of national pride and importance. Railway officials say they want to reach speeds over 500kph.