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330 km/h is lower than 350 km/h... But the trains were designed for 300 km/h (see page 2 of Siemens brochure; they even show the traction effort curves).
They, according to these sources, modified the prototype to produce trains that are in fact capable of running at 350km/h in commercial operation.
You are speaking about your source on modifications done by the end of 2009 for the WuGuang line. The approval for 350 km/h is valid from August 2008, and actual operation was above the 300 km/h design speed from the start too. In addition, I went into the details on why the modifications listed don't appear to be sufficient for a raise of permanent top speeds from even 330 to 350 km/h -- so, with your choice of words, the operation in the 330-350 km/h band discussed further below can be seen as CR still making claims a bit ahead of time, with even the latest version, which appears to be suited for permanent running at 335-340 km/h.
2) ... I do get the impression that the chinese were making claims ahead of time.
An approval for 350 km/h, even painted on the side of the CRH3, is not mere "making claims". Also, the Wikipedia comment says 340 km/h for August, so 330 km/h is already a reduction.
3) ... I don't know how a handful of photos can "show" that a particular speed is not maintained continuously.
Have you even looked at the links? The photographed displays also show the time. One of them shows speed kept around 330 km/h for a few minutes before the push for 350 km/h, and then writes in text that speed fluctuated in the 330-350 km/h band thereafter. Another guy wrote in his travel report that he missed the opportunity to photograph hitting 350 km/h because he was just then in the toilet.
4) ... He/she spoke of models of the "second-phase", which, according to him/her, have just come out.
Read my comment again, I did write about the CRH2C second batch... The first were planned for delivery in December, but the first finally came out at the end of January (see CRH2-091C further down in this comment). The line was operated from December -- with the CRH2C first batch.
So the whole post does not question the 350km/h commercial speed
No one questions the 350 km/h commercial speed... the question is whether it is held continuously. (As an example of similar operation, the predecessors of the Siemens Velaro, the German ICE3, had timeplans laid out for 300 km/h max, but being trains approved for 330 km/h, they were allowed to reach that speed when late.) And if only 330 km/h is held continuously, then that is a more equipment-friendly operation, and means to me that the Chinese railways aren't really reckless -- which was your original point!
5) ... the whole thread about CRH2 series, not about CRH3 series
Um, my claim on the less successful nose shape modification which you challenged pertained to the CRH2 series, not the CRH3 series.
So what was not successful, according to the poster, was the modification before the one he was showing with a picture.
Thanks, that sounds better. [If you or marco are still reading this, could you please give me a complete translation of that comment?] At any rate, not even this nose shape was used for the CRH2C 2nd batch (but the classic head with some very modest external modifications, see for example here, reproduced below for you), so if this nose shape proves successful, it will be CRH2-350 stuff.
I think there is no evidence whatsoever the answer to A) is yes... With regard to B) I think it indeed seems likely that the chinese were making claims ahead of themselves
Well... whichever way you say it, if the CRH3 were good for 330 km/h only, then the approval for 350 km/h was by fiat. And, as I indicated, some problems with operation even at 330 km/h may show itself only in a few years: I would watch out for cracks in axles and bogie frames in particular.
Now, this is just the CRH3. The CRH2C first batch seem to have been unfit for even 330 km/h in 2008. And then there are also the 200 km/h vehicles oversped to 250 km/h. Of these,
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