The fastest train

Last year when I was in Australia, I rode on a train that went only seven or ten miles per hour. Yesterday, while travelling between Paris and Lyon, I rode on the world's fastest train. It goes 180 miles per hour!

When you are in the passenger compartment you feel that the train is going only 40 or 50 miles an hour. But if you are up front with the engineer, you can see how fast it is going.

For more than an hour I was with the engineer. I was sitting in the same seat that the French President sat in four years ago when he inaugurated the train. It is right alongside the engineer.

So now I have gone from the slowest to the fastest. This train broke the world record and defeated the Japanese bullet train. The French say they are going to stay ahead of the Japanese. They are working very hard to maintain their supremacy.

When I was young I wanted to follow in my father's footsteps and be a train conductor. That was my earliest desire. But instead, God has given me a far more difficult job.

— 21 October 1985