TGV

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TGV
TGV 2012 Logo.png
Paris - TGV.jpg
Three TGV trains at Paris Gare de l'Est
Locale France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain
Dates of operation 1980–
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Website tgv.com

The TGV (French: Train à Grande Vitesse, "high-speed train") is France's high-speed rail service, operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the national rail operator.

It was developed during the 1970s by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom) and SNCF. Originally designed as turbotrains to be powered by gas turbines, the prototypes evolved into electric trains with the 1973 oil crisis. Following the inaugural service between Paris and Lyon in 1981 on the LGV Sud-Est (LGV (French: Ligne à Grande Vitesse, high-speed line)), the network, centred on Paris, has expanded to connect many cities across France and in adjacent countries on combinations of high-speed and conventional lines.

A TGV test train set the record for the fastest wheeled train, reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007.[1] In mid-2011, scheduled TGV trains operated at the highest speeds in conventional train service in the world,[citation needed] regularly reaching 320 km/h (200 mph) on the LGV Est, LGV Rhin-Rhône and the LGV Méditerranée.

According to Railway Gazette in 2007, a TGV was the fastest scheduled rail journey with a start-to-stop average speed of 279.4 km/h (173.6 mph) between Champagne-Ardenne TGV and Lorraine TGV,[2][3] until July 2013, when it was surpassed by the Chinese Harmony express.[4]

The commercial success of the first LGV, the LGV Sud-Est, led to an expansion of the network to the south (LGV Rhône-Alpes and LGV Méditerranée), and new lines in the west (LGV Atlantique), north (LGV Nord), and east (LGV Est). Eager to emulate the TGV success, neighbouring countries Italy, Spain, and Germany developed their own high-speed rail services. The TGV system itself extends to neighbouring countries, either directly (Switzerland and Italy) or through TGV-derivative networks linking France to Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands (Thalys), as well as France and Belgium to the United Kingdom (Eurostar). Several future lines are planned, including extensions within France and to surrounding countries. Cities such as Tours have become part of a "TGV commuter belt" around Paris.

In 2007, SNCF generated profits of €1.1 billion (approximately US$1.75 billion, £875 million) driven largely by higher margins on the TGV network.[5][6]

History[edit]

A TGV driver's cab

The idea of the TGV was first proposed in the 1960s, after Japan had begun construction of the Shinkansen (the bullet train) in 1959. At the time the French government favoured new technology, exploring the production of hovercraft and the Aérotrain air-cushion vehicle. Simultaneously, SNCF began researching high-speed trains on conventional tracks. In 1976, the government agreed to fund the first line. By the mid-1990s, the trains were so popular that SNCF president Louis Gallois declared TGV "The train that saved French railways".[7]

Development[edit]

It was originally planned that the TGV, then standing for très grande vitesse (very high speed) or turbine grande vitesse (high-speed turbine), would be propelled by gas turbines, selected for their small size, good power-to-weight ratio and ability to deliver high power over an extended period. The first prototype, TGV 001, was the only gas-turbine TGV: following the increase in the price of oil during the 1973 energy crisis, gas turbines were deemed uneconomic and the project turned to electricity from overhead lines, generated by new nuclear power stations.

TGV 001 was not a wasted prototype:[8] its gas turbine was only one of its many new technologies for high-speed rail travel. It also tested high-speed brakes, needed to dissipate the large amount of kinetic energy of a train at high speed, high-speed aerodynamics, and signalling. It was articulated, i.e. two adjacent carriages shared a bogie, allowing free yet controlled motion with respect to one another. It reached 318 km/h (198 mph), which remains the world speed record for a non-electric train. Its interior and exterior were styled by British-born designer Jack Cooper, whose work formed the basis of early TGV designs, including the distinctive nose shape of the first power cars.

Changing the TGV to electric traction required a significant design overhaul. The first electric prototype, nicknamed Zébulon, was completed in 1974, testing features such as innovative body mounting of motors, pantographs, suspension and braking. Body mounting of motors allowed over 3 tonnes to be eliminated from the power cars and greatly reduced the unsprung weight. The prototype travelled almost 1,000,000 km (620,000 mi) during testing.

In 1976 the French government funded the TGV project, and construction of the LGV Sud-Est, the first high-speed line (French: ligne à grande vitesse), began shortly afterwards. The line was given the designation LN1, Ligne Nouvelle 1, (New Line 1).

After two pre-production trainsets (nicknamed Patrick and Sophie) had been tested and substantially modified, the first production version was delivered on 25 April 1980.

Service history[edit]

The LGV opened to the public between Paris and Lyon on 27 September 1981. Contrary to its earlier fast services, SNCF intended TGV service for all types of passengers, with the same initial ticket price as trains on the parallel conventional line. To counteract the popular misconception that the TGV would be a premium service for business travellers, SNCF started a major publicity campaign focusing on the speed, frequency, reservation policy, normal price, and broad accessibility of the service.[9] This commitment to a democratised TGV service was enhanced in the Mitterrand era with the promotional slogan "Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all".[10] The TGV was considerably faster than normal trains, cars, or aeroplanes. The trains became widely popular, the public welcoming fast and practical travel.

A TGV Duplex trainset coupled to a Reseau trainset leaving Paris Gare de Lyon

The Eurostar service began operation in 1994, connecting continental Europe to London via the Channel Tunnel and the LGV Nord-Europe with a version of the TGV designed for use in the tunnel and the United Kingdom. The first phase of the British High Speed 1 line, or Channel Tunnel Rail Link, was completed in 2003, the second phase in November 2007. The fastest trains take 2 hours 15 minutes London–Paris and 1 hour 51 minutes London–Brussels.

Milestones[edit]

The TGV was the world's fourth commercial and third standard gauge high-speed train service,[11] after Japan's Shinkansen, which connected Tokyo and Osaka from 1 October 1964 (full service in 1975), the Russian ER200 around 1964 (full service in 1984), and Britain's InterCity 125 on main lines such as the East Coast Main Line, which entered service in 1976.

TGV, Record runs

The TGV holds the world speed record for conventional trains. On 3 April 2007 a modified TGV POS train reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) under test conditions on the LGV Est between Paris and Strasbourg. The line voltage was boosted to 31 kV, and extra ballast was tamped onto the right-of-way. The train beat the 1990 world speed record of 515.3 km/h (320.2 mph), set by a similarly shortened train (two power cars and three passenger cars), along with unofficial records set during weeks preceding the official record run. The test was part of an extensive research programme by Alstom.[12][13]

In 2007 the TGV was the world's fastest conventional scheduled train: one journey's average start-to-stop speed from Lorraine-TGV to Champagne-Ardenne-TGV is 279.3 km/h (173.5 mph).[2][3] This record was surpassed on 26 December 2009 by the new Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway[14] in China where the fastest scheduled train covered 922 km (573 mi) at an average speed of 312.54 km/h (194.20 mph). However, on 1 July 2011 in order to save energy and reduce operating costs the maximum speed of Chinese high-speed trains was reduced to 300 km/h, and the average speed of the fastest trains on the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway was reduced to 272.68 km/h (169 mph), slower than the TGV.

A Eurostar train broke the record for the longest non-stop high-speed international journey on 17 May 2006 carrying the cast and filmmakers of The Da Vinci Code from London to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival. The 1,421-kilometre (883 mi) journey took 7 hours 25 minutes (average of 191.6 km/h (119.1 mph)).[15]

The fastest long distance run was by a TGV Réseau train from Calais-Frethun to Marseille (1067.2 km, 663 mi) in 3 hours 29 minutes (306 km/h (190 mph)) for the inauguration of the LGV Méditerranée on 26 May 2001.[16]

Passenger usage[edit]

On 28 November 2003 the TGV network carried its one billionth passenger, a distant second only to the Shinkansen's five billionth passenger in 2000.

Excluding international traffic, the TGV system carried 98 million passengers during 2008, an increase of 8 million (9.1%) on the previous year.[17]

Decade Passengers[18] (in millions)
1980s 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1.26 6.08 9.20 13.77 15.38 15.57 16.97 18.10 19.16
1990s
[t 1][t 2]
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
29.93 37.00 39.30 40.12 43.91 46.59 55.73 62.60 71.00 74.00
2000s 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
79.70 83.50 87.90 86.70 90.80 94.00 97.00 114.00 122.00
2010s 2010
114.45
  1. ^ from 1994 including Eurostar
  2. ^ from 1997 including Thalys


Rolling stock[edit]

TGVs have semi-permanently coupled articulated un-powered coaches, with Jacobs bogies between the coaches supporting both of them. Power cars at each end of the trains have their own bogies. Trains can be lengthened by coupling two TGVs, using couplers hidden in the noses of the power cars.

The articulated design is advantageous during a derailment, as the passenger carriages are more likely to stay upright and in line with the track. Normal trains could split at couplings and jackknife, as seen in the Eschede train disaster.

A disadvantage is that it is difficult to split sets of carriages. While power cars can be removed from trains by standard uncoupling procedures, specialised depot equipment is needed to split carriages, by lifting the entire train at once. Once uncoupled, one of the carriage ends is left without a bogie at the split, so a bogie frame is required to support it.

There are about 550 TGVs, of seven types:

  • SNCF TGV Sud-Est (passengers) and TGV La Poste (freight),
  • SNCF TGV Atlantique (10 carriages)
  • SNCF TGV Réseau (similar to Atlantique, but 8 carriages)
  • Eurostar/SNCF TGV TMST ("Three Capitals" - Bruxelles, Londres, Paris)
  • SNCF TGV Duplex (two floors for greater passenger capacity),
  • Thalys PBA and PBKA (Benelux countries, derived from Réseau and Duplex respectively),
  • SNCF TGV POS (Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland, or Paris-Eastern France-Southern Germany).
  • SNCF TGV 2N2 (upgrade of Duplex)

Several TGV types have broken records, including the V150 and TGV 001. V150 was a specially modified five-car double-deck trainset that reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) under controlled conditions on a test run. It narrowly missed beating the world train speed record of 581 km/h (361 mph).[19] The record-breaking speed is impractical for commercial trains due to motor overcharging, empty train weight, rail and engine wear issues, elimination of all but three coaches, excessive vibration, noise and lack of emergency stopping methods.

TGVs travel at up to 320 km/h (200 mph) in commercial use. All are at least bi-current, which means that they can operate at 25 kV, 50 Hz AC (including LGVs) and at 1.5 kV DC (such as the 1.5 kV lignes classiques south of Paris). Trains to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands must accommodate other voltages, requiring tri-current and quadri-current TGVs. TGVs have two pairs of pantographs, two for AC use and two for DC. When passing between areas of different supply voltage, marker boards remind the driver to turn off power, lower the pantograph(s), adjust a switch to select the appropriate system, and raise the pantograph(s). Pantographs and pantograph height control are selected automatically based on the voltage system chosen by the driver. Once the train detects the correct supply, a dashboard indicator illuminates and the driver can switch on the traction motors. The train coasts across the boundary between sections.

Equipment type Top speed Seating
capacity
Overall length Width Weight,
empty (t)
Weight,
full (t)
Power,
at 25 kV (kW)
Power-to-weight ratio,
empty (W/kg)
First
built
km/h mph m ft m ft
TGV Sud-Est 270, 300 (rebuilt) 170, 190 (rebuilt) 345 200 660 2.81 9.2 385 418 6,450 16.75 1978
TGV Atlantique* 300 190 485, 459 (rebuilt) 238 781 2.90 9.5 444 484 8,800 19.82 1988
TGV Réseau 320 200 377, 361 (rebuilt) 200 660 2.90 9.5 383 415 8,800 22.98 1992
TGV TMST Three Capitals 300 190 750 394 1,293 2.81 9.2 752 816 12,240 16.28 1993
TGV TMST North of London 300 190 596 319 1,047 2.81 9.2 665   12,240 18.41 1993
TGV Duplex 320 200 512 200 660 2.90 9.5 380 424 8,800 23.16 1994
Thalys PBKA 300 190 377, 374 (rebuilt) 200 660 2.90 9.5 385 415 8,800 22.86 1997
TGV POS 320 200 361 200 660 2.90 9.5 383 415 9,280 24.23 2005
TGV 2N2 320 200 509 200 660 2.90 9.5 380 424 9,400 24.74 2011

TGV Sud-Est[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV Sud-Est
A TGV Sud-Est set in the original orange livery, since superseded by silver and blue
A TGV Réseau on an enhanced ordinary track
A TGV Réseau second-generation train at Marseille St-Charles

The Sud-Est fleet was built between 1978 and 1988 and operated the first TGV service, from Paris to Lyon in 1981. There are 107 passenger sets, of which nine are tri-current (including 15 kV, 16⅔ Hz AC for use in Switzerland) and the rest bi-current. There are seven bi-current half-sets without seats that carry mail for La Poste between Paris, Lyon and Provence, in a distinctive yellow livery.

Each set is made up of two power cars and eight carriages (capacity 345 seats), including a powered bogie in the carriages adjacent to the power cars. They are 200 m (660 ft) long and 2.81 m (9.2 ft) wide. They weigh 385 tonnes with a power output of 6,450 kW under 25 kV.

The sets were built to run at 270 km/h (170 mph) but most were upgraded to 300 km/h (190 mph) during mid-life refurbishment in preparation for the opening of the LGV Méditerranée. The few sets that still have a maximum speed of 270 km/h operate on those routes that include a comparatively short distance on LGV, such as to Switzerland via Dijon: SNCF did not consider it financially worthwhile to upgrade their speed for a marginal reduction in journey time.

TGV Atlantique[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV Atlantique

The 105-strong bi-current Atlantique fleet was built between 1988 and 1992 for the opening of the LGV Atlantique and entry into service began in 1989. They are 237.5 m (779 ft) long and 2.9 m (9.5 ft) wide. They weigh 444 tonnes, and are made up of two power cars and ten carriages with a capacity of 485 seats. They were built with a maximum speed of 300 km/h (190 mph) and 8,800 kW of power under 25 kV. The efficiency of the Atlantique with all seats filled has been calculated at 767 PMPG, though with a typical occupancy of 60% it is about 460 PMPG (a Toyota Prius with three passengers is 144 PMPG).[20]

Modified unit 325 set the world speed record in 1990 on the LGV before its opening. Modifications such as improved aerodynamics, larger wheels and improved braking were made to enable speeds of over 500 km/h (310 mph). The set was reduced to two power cars and three carriages to improve the power-to-weight ratio, weighing 250 tonnes. Three carriages, including the bar carriage in the centre, is the minimum possible configuration because of the articulation.

TGV Réseau[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV Réseau

The first Réseau (Network) sets entered service in 1993. Fifty bi-current sets were ordered in 1990, supplemented by 40 tri-current sets in 1992/1993. Ten tri-current sets carry the Thalys livery and are known as Thalys PBA (Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam) sets. As well as using standard French voltages, the tri-current sets can operate under the Netherlands' 1.5 kV and Italian and Belgian 3 kV DC supplies.

They are formed of two power cars (8,800 kW under 25 kV – as TGV Atlantique) and eight carriages, giving a capacity of 377 seats. They have a top speed of 320 km/h. They are 200 m (660 ft) long and are 2.90 m (9.5 ft) wide. The bi-current sets weigh 383 tonnes: owing to axle-load restrictions in Belgium the tri-current sets have a series of modifications, such as the replacement of steel with aluminium and hollow axles, to reduce the weight to under 17 t per axle.

Owing to early complaints of uncomfortable pressure changes when entering tunnels at high speed on the LGV Atlantique, the Réseau sets are now pressure-sealed. They can be coupled to a Duplex set.

Eurostar[edit]

Eurostar at London St Pancras. These long trains connect London with Paris and Brussels, are narrower to fit the British loading gauge (this was required when operating out of Waterloo), and have extensive fireproofing.

The Eurostar train is essentially a long TGV,[21] modified for use in the United Kingdom and in the Channel Tunnel. Differences include a smaller cross-section to fit within the constrictive British loading gauge (though High Speed 1 can accommodate Berne gauge traffic, this feature was required when Eurostar trains operated on existing tracks between London Waterloo and the Channel Tunnel), British-designed asynchronous traction motors, and extensive fireproofing in case of fire in the Channel Tunnel. They also have yellow front panels, which are required for all trains operating on track owned by Network Rail or High Speed 1 in the UK.

In the UK they are called Class 373. In the planning stages they were called TransManche Super Train (Cross-channel Super Train). They were built by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom) in La Rochelle (France), Belfort (France) and Washwood Heath (England), entering service in 1993.

Two types were built: Three Capitals sets, consisting of two power cars and 18 carriages, including two with one powered bogie each; and North of London sets, with 14 carriages. They consist of two identical half-sets that are not articulated in the middle, so that in case of emergency in the Channel Tunnel one half can be uncoupled and leave the tunnel. Each half-set is numbered separately.

Thirty-eight full sets, plus one spare power car, were ordered: 16 by SNCF, four by SNCB/NMBS, and 18 by British Rail, of which seven were North of London sets. Upon privatisation of British Rail by the UK Government, the BR sets were bought by London and Continental Railways (LCR), whose subsidiary Eurostar (UK) Ltd was managed by a consortium of National Express (40%), SNCF (35%), SNCB/NMBS (15%) and British Airways (10%) from 1998 to 2010. Following the merger of the separate Eurostar operators on 1 September 2010, ownership of all jointly owned sets transferred to the parent company, Eurostar International Limited.

The sets operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h (190 mph), with the power cars supplying 12,240 kW of power. The Three Capitals sets are 394 m (1,293 ft) long and have 766 seats, weighing 752 tonnes. The North of London sets have 558 seats. All are at least tri-current and are able to operate on 25 kV, 50 Hz AC (on LGVs, including High Speed 1, and on UK overhead electrified lines), 3 kV DC on lignes classiques in Belgium and 750 V DC on the UK former Southern Region third rail network. The third-rail equipment became obsolete in 2007 when the second phase of High Speed 1 was brought into use between London and the Channel Tunnel, which uses 25 kV, 50 Hz AC. Five of the Three Capitals sets owned by SNCF are quadri-current and are able to operate on French lignes classiques at 1500 V DC.

The TGV Duplex power cars use a more streamlined nose than previous TGVs
TGV Duplex power car in profile
TGV Duplex trains have bi-level carriages
A Thalys PBKA at Köln Hauptbahnhof
Eurostar, Thalys and TGV PSE No 81 at Paris Gare du Nord

Three of the Three Capitals sets owned by SNCF are in French domestic use and carry the silver and blue TGV livery. The North of London sets, intended to provide regional Eurostar services from continental Europe to UK cities north of London using the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines, have never seen regular international use: budget airlines in the UK offered lower fares. A few of the sets were leased to GNER for use on some services from London King's Cross to York and Leeds, with two carrying its dark blue livery. The lease ended in December 2005[22] and a year later the same sets were working SNCF services to Calais in Eurostar livery, albeit with the Eurostar branding and yellow front panels removed.[23]

The chief executive of Eurostar, Richard Brown, suggested that the trains could be replaced by double-deck trains similar to the TGV Duplex when they are withdrawn. A double-deck fleet could carry 40 million passengers per year from England to Continental Europe, equivalent to adding an extra runway at a London airport.[24]

Eurostar has higher security measures than other TGVs.[25] Luggage is screened and passengers are, in principle, required to check in 30 minutes before departure, although this requirement is seldom enforced. Because the UK is not part of the Schengen Area, and because France and Belgium are not part of the Common Travel Area, passengers are subject to immigration checks. These take place before passengers board the train, so officials from the UK Border Agency are stationed in France and Belgium, with their French counterparts stationed in the UK.

TGV Duplex[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV Duplex

The Duplex was built to increase TGV capacity without increasing train length or the number of trains. Each carriage has two levels, with access doors at the lower level taking advantage of low French platforms. A staircase gives access to the upper level, where the gangway between carriages is located. There are 512 seats per set. On busy routes such as Paris-Marseille they are operated in pairs, providing 1,024 seats in two Duplex sets or 800 in a Duplex set plus a Reseau set. Each set has a wheelchair accessible compartment.

After a lengthy development process starting in 1988 (during which they were known as the TGV-2N) the original batch of 30 was built between 1995 and 1998. Further deliveries started in 2000 with the Duplex fleet now totalling 160 units, making it the backbone of the SNCF TGV-fleet. They weigh 380 tonnes and are 200 m (660 ft) long, made up of two power cars and eight carriages. Extensive use of aluminium means that they weigh not much more than the TGV Réseau sets they supplement. The bi-current power cars provide 8,800 kW, and they have a slightly increased speed of 320 km/h (200 mph).

Thalys PBKA[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV Thalys PBKA

Unlike Thalys PBA sets, the PBKA (Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam) sets were built exclusively for Thalys. They are technologically similar to TGV Duplex sets, but single deck. They are quadri-current, operating under 25 kV, 50 Hz AC (LGVs), 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC (Germany, Switzerland), 3 kV DC (Belgium) and 1.5 kV DC (Dutch and French lignes classiques). Their top speed is 300 km/h (186 mph) under 25 kV, with two power cars supplying 8,800 kW. When operating under 15 kV power output drops to 3,680 kW, resulting in a very poor power-to-weight-ratio on German high-speed lines.[26] They have eight carriages and are 200 m (660 ft) long, weighing a total of 385 tonnes. They have 377 seats.

Seventeen trains were ordered: nine by SNCB/NMBS, six by SNCF and two by NS. Deutsche Bahn contributed to financing two of the SNCB/NMBS sets.

TGV POS[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV POS

TGV POS (Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland or Paris-Eastern France-Southern Germany) are used on the LGV Est.

They consist of two power cars with eight TGV Réseau-type carriages, with a power output of 9,600 kW and a top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph). Unlike TGV-A, TGV-R and TGV-D, they have asynchronous motors, and isolation of an individual motor is possible in case of failure.

TGV 2N2[edit]

Main article: SNCF TGV 2N2

The bi-current 2N2 can be regarded as the fourth generation of Duplex. The series was commissioned from December 2011 for links to Germany and Switzerland (tri-current trains) and to cope with the increased traffic due to the opening of the LGV Rhine-Rhone.

They are numbered from 800, and are limited to 320 km/h (200 mph). ERTMS makes them compatible to allow access to Spain in support Dasye.


TGV technology outside France[edit]

TGV technology has been adopted in a number of other countries:[27]

Future TGVs[edit]

SNCF and Alstom are investigating new technology that could be used for high-speed transport. The development of TGV trains is being pursued in the form of the Automotrice à grande vitesse (AGV) high-speed multiple unit with motors under each carriage.[34] Investigations are being carried out with the aim of producing trains at the same cost as TGVs with the same safety standards. AGVs of the same length as TGVs could have up to 450 seats. The target speed is 360 kilometres per hour (220 mph). The prototype AGV was unveiled by Alstom on 5 February 2008.[35]

Italian operator NTV is the first customer for the AGV, and intends to become the first open-access high-speed rail operator in Europe, starting operation in 2011.[33]

In the short term, plans are being considered to increase the capacity of TGVs by 10% by replacing the central two power cars of a double TGV with passenger carriages. These carriages would have motorized bogies, as do the first and last carriage of the train, to make up for the lost power.[36]

Accidents[edit]

Main article: TGV accidents

In almost three decades of high-speed operation, the TGV has not recorded a single fatality due to accident while running at high speed. There have been several accidents, including three derailments at or above 270 km/h (170 mph), but in none of these did carriages overturn. This is credited in part to the stiffness that the articulated design lends to the train. There have been fatal accidents involving TGVs on lignes classiques, where the trains are exposed to the same dangers as normal trains, such as level crossings. These include one terrorist bombing, which could as well have occurred at high speed as not.

On LGVs[edit]

  • 14 December 1992: TGV 920 from Annecy to Paris, operated by set 56, derailed at 270 km/h (170 mph) at Mâcon-Loché TGV station (Saône-et-Loire). A previous emergency stop had caused a wheel flat; the bogie concerned derailed while crossing the points at the entrance to the station. No one on the train was injured, but 25 passengers waiting on the platform for another TGV were slightly injured by ballast that was thrown up from the trackbed.
  • 21 December 1993: TGV 7150 from Valenciennes to Paris, operated by set 511, derailed at 300 km/h (190 mph) at the site of Haute Picardie TGV station, before it was built. Rain had caused a hole to open up under the track; the hole dated from the First World War but had not been detected during construction. The front power car and four carriages derailed but remained aligned with the track. Of the 200 passengers, one was slightly injured.
  • 5 June 2000: Eurostar 9073 from Paris to London, operated by sets 3101/2 owned by SNCB/NMBS, derailed at 250 km/h (160 mph) in the Nord-Pas de Calais region near Croisilles.[37] The transmission assembly on the rear bogie of the front power car failed, with parts falling onto the track. Four bogies out of 24 derailed. Out of 501 passengers, seven were bruised[38] and others treated for shock.[39]

On lignes classiques[edit]

  • 31 December 1983: A bomb allegedly planted by the terrorist organisation of Carlos the Jackal exploded on board a TGV from Marseille to Paris; two people were killed.
  • 28 September 1988: TGV 736, operated by set 70 "Melun", collided with a lorry carrying an electric transformer weighing 100 tonnes that had become stuck on a level crossing in Voiron, Isère. The vehicle had not obtained the required crossing permit from the French Direction départementale de l'équipement. The weight of the lorry caused a very violent collision; the train driver and a passenger died, and 25 passengers were slightly injured.
  • 4 January 1991: after a brake failure, TGV 360 ran away from Châtillon depot. The train was directed onto an unoccupied track and collided with the car loading ramp at Paris-Vaugirard station at 60 km/h (37 mph). No one was injured. The leading power car and the first two carriages were severely damaged, and were rebuilt.
  • 25 September 1997: TGV 7119 from Paris to Dunkerque, operated by set 502, collided at 130 km/h (81 mph) with a 70 tonne asphalt paving machine on a level crossing at Bierne, near Dunkerque. The power car spun round and fell down an embankment. The front two carriages left the track and came to a stop in woods beside the track. Seven people were injured.
  • 31 October 2001: TGV 8515 from Paris to Irun derailed at 130 km/h (81 mph) near Dax in southwest France. All ten carriages derailed and the rear power unit fell over. The cause was a broken rail.
  • 30 January 2003: a TGV from Dunkerque to Paris collided at 106 km/h (66 mph) with a heavy goods vehicle stuck on the level crossing at Esquelbecq in northern France. The front power car was severely damaged, but only one bogie derailed. Only the driver was slightly injured.
  • 19 December 2007: a TGV from Paris to Geneva collided at about 100 km/h (62 mph) with a truck on a level crossing near Tossiat in eastern France, near the Swiss border. The driver of the truck died; on the train, one person was seriously injured and 24 were slightly injured.[40]
  • On 17 July 2014, a TER train ran into the rear of a TGV at Denguin, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Forty people were injured.

Following the number of accidents at level crossings, an effort has been made to remove all level crossings on lignes classiques used by TGVs. The ligne classique from Tours to Bordeaux at the end of the LGV Atlantique has no level crossings as a result.

Protests against the TGV[edit]

The first environmental protests against the building of an LGV occurred in May 1990 during the planning stages of the LGV Méditerranée. Protesters blocked a railway viaduct to protest against the planned route, arguing that it was unnecessary, and that trains could use existing lines to reach Marseille from Lyon.[41]

Lyon Turin Ferroviaire (Lyon-Chambéry-Turin), which would connect the TGV network to the Italian TAV network, has been the subject of demonstrations in Italy. While most Italian political parties agree on the construction of this line, inhabitants of the towns where construction would take place are vehemently opposing it.[citation needed] The concerns put forward by the protesters centre on storage of dangerous materials mined during tunnel boring, like asbestos and perhaps uranium, in the open air.[citation needed]. This health danger could be avoided by using more expensive techniques for handling radioactive materials.[citation needed] A six-month delay in the start of construction has been decided in order to study solutions. In addition to the concerns of the residents, RFB – a ten-year-old national movement – opposes the development of Italy's TAV high-speed rail network as a whole.[42]

General complaints about the noise of TGVs passing near towns and villages have led the SNCF to build acoustic fencing along large sections of LGV to reduce the disturbance to residents, but protests still take place where SNCF has not addressed the issue.[43]

Special services[edit]

In addition to its standard services, TGV also provides mail and "low cost" travel services

For many years, a service termed SNCF TGV La Poste has been transporting mail for the French mail service, La Poste . It uses windowless but otherwise standard TGV rolling stock, painted in the yellow and blue livery of La Poste

In 2013 a new "low cost" TGV service was created by SNCF. It was called Ouigo and was designed to mimic and challenge low cost airline services

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "French Train Hits 357 mph Breaking World Speed Record". foxnews.com. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b ,"World Speed Survey: New lines boost rail's high speed performance". Railway Gazette International. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Railway Gazette International 2007 World Speed Survey Tables Railway Gazette International (September 2007)
  4. ^ "World Speed Survey 2013: China sprints out in front". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ David Gow (9 July 2008). "Europe's rail renaissance on track". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Ben Fried (15 July 2008). "French Trains Turn $1.75B Profit, Leave American Rail in the Dust". Streetsblog New York City. streetsblog.org. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Fender, Keith (August 2010). "TGV: High Speed Hero". Trains Magazine (Kalmbach) 70 (8). 
  8. ^ "Early TGV history". TGVWeb. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  9. ^ Meunier, Jacob. On The Fast Track: French Railway Modernisation and the Origins of the TGV, 1944–1983. pp. 209–210. 
  10. ^ Meunier, Jacob. On The Fast Track: French Railway Modernisation and the Origins of the TGV, 1944–1983. p. 7. 
  11. ^ "General definitions of highspeed". UIC. 28 November 2006. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  12. ^ "Alstom commits itself to the French very high speed rail programme". Alstom. 18 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-04. [dead link]
  13. ^ "French high-speed TGV breaks world conventional rail-speed record". Deutsche Presse-Agentur (reprinted by Monsters and Critics). 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  14. ^ Wuhan-Guangzhou line opens at 380 km/h, http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view//wuhan-guangzhou-line-opens-at-380-kmh.html
  15. ^ "Eurostar sets new Guinness World Record with cast and filmmakers of Columbia Pictures’ The Da Vinci Code". Eurostar. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  16. ^ "French train breaks speed record". BBC News. 27 May 2001. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  17. ^ "Bilan de l'année 2008 : Perspectives 2009" (in French). SNCF. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  18. ^ Pepy, G.: 25 Years of the TGV. Modern Railways 10/2006, p. 67 – 74
  19. ^ "French Train Sets New World Speed Record". London. [dead link]
  20. ^ Energy Efficiency of different modes of transportation, accessed March 21, 2009
  21. ^ Martin Wilckens & Gunther Ellewanger. "High speed for Europe". Japan Railway & Transport Review. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  22. ^ RAIL (pages 14–15, issue 527, 23 November 2005 – 6 December 2005), Class 91s to replace GNER's Eurostars
  23. ^ Webster, Ben (6 July 2007). "Trains for high-speed link handed over to the French". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  24. ^ RAIL (page 11, issue 529, 21 December 2005 – 3 January 2006), Double decked trains could be replacement for Eurostars
  25. ^ "Eurostar boosts passenger security at ashford international". Eurostar. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  26. ^ Alain Jeunesse and Michel Rollin (March 2004). "La motorisation du TGV POS" (in French). Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  27. ^ "French Railway Industry: The paths of excellence". DGE/UBIFRANCE. Retrieved 2009-05-01. [dead link]
  28. ^ Ryo Takagi. "High-speed Railways:The last ten years". Japan Railway & Transport Review. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  29. ^ "Korea develops high-speed ambitions: a thorough programme of research and development will soon deliver results for Korea's rail industry in the form of the indigenous KTX II high-speed train. Dr Kihwan Kim of the Korea Railroad Research Institute explains the development of the new train". BNET (International Railway Journal). May 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  30. ^ a b "TGVweb Acela Express page". TGVweb. May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  31. ^ "Engineers begin work on Moroccan high-speed rail link". BNET (International Railway Journal). May 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  32. ^ 'Cobra' offers high speed future Railway Gazette International August 2007.
  33. ^ a b "Alstom awarded Italian AGV contract". Railway Gazette International. 17 January 2008. 
  34. ^ "Alstom unveils AGV prototype train". Railway Gazette International. 5 February 2008. 
  35. ^ "France unveils super-fast train". BBC News. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  36. ^ "TGV Duplex Grande Capacite". SNCF. 1 May 2008. 
  37. ^ "TGV Accidents". trainweb.org. 1 May 2009. 
  38. ^ Eurostar derails; seven passengers bruised Associated Press (5 June 2000), Retrieved 24 November 2005
  39. ^ "Eurostar train derails in France". BBC News. 5 June 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  40. ^ French TGV train hits lorry and kills one Reuters UK (December 2007)
  41. ^ New Scientist (issue 1719, 2 June 1990), High-Speed Protest. Retrieved 15 November 2005.
  42. ^ Planet Ark (reprinted from Reuters 1 November 2005), Environmental Protesters Block French-Italian Railway. Retrieved 1 November 2005.
  43. ^ Environmental Science and Engineering (November 2001), Train à grande vitesse causes distress. Retrieved 24 November 2005.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cinotti, Eric and Tréboul, Jean-Baptiste (2000) Les TGV européens : Eurostar, Thalys, Paris : Presses universitaires de France, ISBN 2-13-050565-1 (in French)
  • Perren, Brian (2000) TGV handbook, 2nd ed., Harrow Weald : Capital Transport, ISBN 1-85414-195-3
  • Malaspina, Jean-Pierre (2005). Des TEE aux TGV [TEE to TGV]. Trains d'Europe (in French) 1. Paris: La Vie du Rail. ISBN 2915034486. 
  • Soulié, Claude and Tricoire, Jean (2002). Le grand livre du TGV, Paris: La Vie du Rail, ISBN 2-915034-01-X (French)

External links[edit]