China launches high-speed test train capable of 310 mph, shaped like an ancient sword

According to an old "Simpsons" quote, there's nary a thing that can outrun a greased Scotsman. That's no longer the case, as Chinese train manufacturer CSR Corp Ltd. unveiled a 500 km/h (310 mph) high-speed test train over the weekend. The train, which consists of six cars, is shaped to look like an ancient sword, reinforced with carbon fiber, and has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts. Similar (if not identical in terms of proposed speeds) projects currently under construction include the 310 mph maglev train planned by Southwest Jiaotong University, the Tokyo to Osaka bullet train planned for 2045 and the proposed 269 mph maglev train from Anaheim to Las Vegas. The test unit is part of China's trillion dollar effort effort to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed rail network by 2012, and about 20,000 km (12,427 miles) by 2020. This new launch comes after a series of high-speed train-related troubles throughout 2011 in which the former Railways Ministry chief, Liu Zhijun, was accused of pocketing $122 million and subsequently terminated from his position; this was followed by a July collision between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou, which killed at least 40 people and injured another 210. Still, the new test train tops out at 310 miles per hour and is shaped like an ancient sword, so past snafus can probably be forgiven.