Two high speed trains meet each other at the fabulous relative speed of 600 km/h (372 mph). This is just routine: each day, hundreds or probably thousands of such non-events occur on the French TGV network. And still, I can’t help but staying amazed when seeing such spectacular “routine”. The 2 trains on the picture belong to the Thalys fleet. Thalys is the joint commercial operations for high speed passenger train services between Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Köln (Germany). The cab signal displays a green “300” number (right in the centre of the dashboard, above the left rounded meter), meaning that the train has the highball for 300 km/h (186.4 mph). The actual speed on shooting the picture was about 297 km/h (184.55 mph), and it is displayed on the round gauge located in the center of the dashboard (the right one). The 297 km/h mark on the lower right end of the dashboard is the "imposed speed" set by the driver. It is an automated system whose function consists in stabilising the speed at the choosen level by delivering power - or electric braking - when needed (e.g. more power on grades). The other rounded meter right in front of the driver (left hand side one) actually shows that the train is delivering power to the traction motors: the meter is in the "+" zone, meaning that the train is in "traction" mode as opposed to the "-" retaining / braking. This "+" does not necessarily mean accelerating because the power delivered to the motors is probably adjusted to only maintaining the speed. The 2 levers on both sides of the front « table » control the power. They are connected together and the driver can use either of them. Pushed frontward – as they are on the picture – they allow the electrical cabinets to deliver power to the traction motors. Pulled backward, they will set the electric brakes in motion. Set in the middle on the “0” position, no acceleration or (electric) braking will happen. On the picture, the levers are on the maximum power position. However, as can be seen on the front left round meter, the power delivered to the traction motors is not at a maximum. This is because the automated imposed speed system is regulating the amount of power delivered to the motors. As can be seen, the actual speed is already close to the imposed 297 km/h speed, so there is no need to provide a lot of power to the motors. The engineer has the option to choose manual control at any time. The printed document in front of the driver is the train timetable. It informs the driver about the right timing for passing each location: km posts, sidings, stations on the line between Paris and Brussels. This paper “technology” remains the best way for engineers to keep their trains running on time. Thalys covers the 300 km / 186 miles between Paris and Brussels in 1 hour and 22 minutes.