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Ad 1) Fine. But I was simply distinguishing two things: the designated speed of Velaro prototypes being lower than the speed at which Chinese CRH3 ran (whatever that speed is) vs. the question how they did it, by fiat or by optimization done on the prototypes.
It's completely irrelevant whether the speed-discrepancy is 300 vs. 330 or 300 vs. 350 or 330 vs. 350 or what have you.
It is also true, it seems to me, that there the more recent generation(s) of CRH3 have experienced far more extensive modifications and optimizations. (But see below, especially the article cited at the end my post).
Now as I was not privy to the engineering processes at the Chinese Railway Ministry, I can at best surmise what happened during those 8 and 1/2 weeks between these two announcements (good catch by the way). Mr. Zhang's boast (which I take it at face value, as true) was that various "parameters" of the test results for CRH3 of that (first) generation was better than their German Velaro counterparts, despite handicaps such like thicker air and wider train body. Presumably, these parameters would include things like noise, stability, air-tightness of cabins etc. It may simply be that, after the tests reviewed that the chinese CRH3s behave a lot better at 300km/h than Velaro counterparts at the same speed, they decided to have the CRH3s run at a higher speed, initially at 350km/h. But later on experience showed that 330km/h was a better choice.
The key argument here is that, unless the chinese decided to optimize what the Siemens offered them from the get go, they would not be achieving better "parameters" in tests under more adverse conditions than in Germany.
It is true that I don't know the extent of the optimization in the first generation CRH3. But the point was that they must have been doing that from the very beginning. Otherwise, their better test results under more adverse conditions would have been a pleasant cosmic accident. (For a second argument about CRH3, backed by another source, see the article cited below. The article appears to say that the chinese changed the shape of the pantograph on CRH3 to optimize its areodynamic properties).
Ad 2) Ok, they are doing more than "making claims", and the point being? (see the discussion above).
Ad 3) Well, I did check all your citations, including this one. All I saw was a handful of pictures. I thought your original claim was that the photos themselves show 350km/h is not maintained continuously, which is obviously absurd. Can you give the reference to the toilette episode again?
Ad 4) First of all, I was talking about continuously maintained operational speed, if that was not clear to you. The overall point of the post you cited was that models have come out that are capable of the 350km/h speed (yes, continuously maintained). It is true that the post also mentions the scheduling, saying that it is made for slower operational speed.
But the problem is that you are taking one element of the post to draw a conclusion (that the chinese CRH3s are not suitable or capable, as a matter of fact, of running at 350km/h) that is contradicted by the entire post, at least partially (for, though your conclusions might be true of the older generation CRH3, it is not for the newer ones).
My main point here is just to point out the misleading way in which you are using your sources.
Now about the main substantial point of disagreement between us - whether the chinese carried out modifications and optimizations on their first generation CRHs (since you seem to agree that the later generations have sustained substantial modifications) - there are more evidence than Mr. Zhang's boasting, which was perhaps only an indirect indication. Here is an article where you can read directly some details of the early modifications the chinese engaged in:
For illustration, I will just quote one sentence: "2007年底，项目攻关取得突破，
What that means is that by the end of 2007, way before CRH2s were running on Beijing-Tianjin HSR line, the chinese engineers had successfully changed the weight of the axle from the 14 tons of the Japanese prototype to 15 tons, in order to make the trains stable at the speed of 350km/h.
Now if that is not significant modification, and indeed of the first generation CRH2, I don't know what is.
All in all, I have not seen anything (sources or arguments) credible that you provided indicating that the answer to my question A) is anything but a resounding NO.
"Now if that is not significant modification, and indeed of the first generation CRH2"
I meant of course the first generation CRH2 designated to maintain the speed 350km/h. The very first generation of CRH2 appeared even earlier, of course.
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