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SNCF TGV "Sud-Est"
TGV Train à Grande Vitesse.jpg
TGV Sud-Est trainset travelling from Lyon to Paris in July 1984
Compin -TGV Sud-Est 11 (2eme Classe).jpg
Second class interior
In service1981–2020
Family nameTGV
Number built111
Number preserved4
Number scrapped107
SuccessorTGV POS
Formation2 power cars, 8 passenger cars
Fleet numbers01–37, 39–69, 71–87, 89–102, 110–118
Train length200 m (656 ft 2 in)
WidthMotor car 2.81 m (9 ft 3 in)
Trailer 2.904 m (9 ft 6.3 in)
Maximum speed300 km/h (186 mph)
(originally 260 km/h or 162 mph)
Weight385 t (379 long tons; 424 short tons)
Power output6,800 kW (9,119 hp) @ 25 kV AC
3,100 kW (4,157 hp) @ 1.5 kV DC
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC
1500 V DC
Overhead catenary
Current collector(s)Pantograph
UIC classificationBoBo-Bo+2222222+Bo-BoBo
Braking system(s)Pneumatic and Regenerative
Safety system(s)TVM-300, KVB
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

The SNCF TGV Sud-Est was a French high speed TGV train built by Alstom and Francorail-MTE and operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. A total of 111 trainsets were built between 1978 and 1988 for the first TGV service in France between Paris and Lyon which opened in 1981. The trainsets were semi-permanently coupled, consisting of two power cars (locomotives) and eight articulated passenger carriages, ten in the case of the tri-voltage sets. The trains were named after the Ligne à Grande Vitesse Sud-Est (lit.'Southeast high-speed line') that they first operated on. They were also referred to as TGV-PSE, an abbreviation of Paris Sud-Est.


A TGV Sud-Est set in the original orange livery, 1987

The TGV Sud-Est fleet was built between 1978 and 1988 and operated the first TGV service from Paris to Lyon in 1981. Formerly there were 107 passenger sets operating, of which nine were tri-current (25 kV 50-60 Hz AC - French lignes à grande vitesse, 1500 V DC - French lignes classiques, 15 kV 16+23 Hz AC - Switzerland) and the rest bi-current (25 kV 50–60 Hz AC, 1500 V DC). There were also five, later seven, bi-current half-sets - TGV La Poste - without seats which carried mail for La Poste between Paris, Lyon and Avignon. These were painted in the distinctive La Poste yellow livery.

Each set was made up of two power cars and eight carriages (capacity 345 seats), including a powered bogie in each of the carriages adjacent to the power cars. They were 200 m (656 ft 2 in) long and 2.904 m (9 ft 6.3 in) wide. They weighed 385 tonnes (379 long tons; 424 short tons) with a power output of 6,450 kW (8,650 hp) under 25 kV.

When the trains were delivered they wore a distinctive orange, grey, and white livery. The last set to wear this livery was repainted in the silver livery similar to the TGV Atlantique sets in 2001. From 2012 trains were repainted in the new SNCF Carmillon livery. The TGV Sud-Est sets can be distinguished visually from the Atlantique and Réseau sets by less streamlined power cars, as well as different placement of the door on the bistro coach. [1]

Originally the sets were built to run at 270 km/h (168 mph) but most were upgraded to 300 km/h (186 mph) during their mid-life refurbishment in preparation for the opening of the LGV Méditerranée. The few sets which still have a maximum speed of 270 km/h (168 mph) operate on routes which have a comparatively short distance on the lignes à grande vitesse, such as those to Switzerland via Dijon. SNCF did not consider it financially worthwhile to upgrade their speed for a marginal reduction in journey time.

Nine sets were originally delivered as all first class. Set 88 was used as a test train for synchronous traction motors then subsequently rebuilt as a tri-voltage set and renumbered 118. Set 114 was sold to SBB in 1993 and a second set in 2005.[2] In 1995, Set 38, one of the all first class sets, was converted to an extra postal set in addition to the existing 5 half-sets.[3]

In March 2012, a hired postal set, numbered 951, was taken to London to advertise the Euro Carex project.[4]

In February 2013 the TGV Lyria sets (110 to 118), designed for services to Switzerland, were taken out of service. These were replaced by TGV POS sets.

In December 2019, all TGV Sud-Est sets were retired from service. In early 2020, a farewell service was run using the first production TGV set built. This train was painted in all 3 liveries that it used during its service.[5][6]

In service[edit]

The TGV Sud-Est sets were originally used on services between Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other cities in the south-east of France. In 2013 there were still 55 sets in use on services to south-eastern France and on cross-country services. The remaining sets were replaced by TGV POS in late 2019.[citation needed]

Fleet List[edit]


The power cars were numbered as Class 23000 dual voltage locomotives, with the trailers being numbered according to the position in the set they were allocated to. So for Set XXX they would be numbered 123XXX, 223XXX, 323XXX and so on. The triple-voltage sets were numbered similarly but as Class 33000. Postal half sets were initially numbered P1–P5, later to P7. The power cars were numbered 923001—005, similarly the intermediate vehicles added a 9 in front of number.[7]


Many of the sets received names, principally of French communes, towns and cities. The names were carried on the two non-driving motor cars at each end of the articulated rake.[7]

Dual voltage sets
Set Number Name Set Number Name
Set 01 Patrick Set 52 Genève
Set 02 Marseille Set 53 Le Puy-en-Velay
Set 03 Belfort Set 54 Chagny
Set 04 Rambouillet Set 55 Denain
Set 05 Ris-Orangis Set 56 Annecy
Set 06 Frasne Set 57 Bourg-en-Bresse
Set 07 Conflans-Sainte-Honorine Set 58 Oullins
Set 08 Rouen Set 59 Hautmont
Set 09 Vincennes Set 60 Langeac
Set 10 Hayange Set 61 Fontainebleau
Set 11 Nîmes Set 62 Toulouse
Set 12 Le Havre Set 63 Villeurbanne
Set 13 Ablon-sur-Seine Set 64 Dole
Set 14 Montpellier Set 65 Sète
Set 15 Pau Set 66 Avignon
Set 16 Lyon Set 67 Bellegarde-sur-Valserine
Set 17 Tergnier Set 68 Modane
Set 18 Le Creusot Set 69 Vichy
Set 19 Saint-Amand-les-Eaux Set 70 Melun
Set 20 Colmar Set 71 Brunoy
Set 21 Dijon Set 72 Cahors
Set 22 Valenciennes Set 73 Charenton-le-Pont
Set 23 Montbard Set 74 Arbois-Mouchard-Port-Lesney
Set 24 Alfortville Set 75
Set 25 Besançon Set 76 Pontarlier
Set 26 Saint-Étienne Set 77 Nuits-Saint-Georges
Set 27 Mâcon Set 78 Culoz
Set 28 Montélimar Set 79 Annemasse
Set 29 Villeneuve-Saint-Georges Set 80 Toulon
Set 30 Lille Set 81 Tonnerre
Set 31 Combs-la-Ville Set 82 Trappes
Set 32 Maisons-Alfort Set 83 Moissy-Cramayel
Set 33 Fécamp Set 84 Dieppe
Set 34 Dunkerque Set 85 Beaune
Set 35 Grenoble Set 86 Montluçon
Set 36 Seine-Saint-Denis Set 87 Montchanin
Set 37 Saint-Germain-en-Laye Set 88/118
Set 38/P6,P7 Set 89
Set 39 Évian + Thonon Set 90
Set 40 Versailles Set 91
Set 41 Villiers-le-Bel Set 92
Set 42 Chambéry Set 93
Set 43 Aix-les-Bains Set 94
Set 44 Clermont-Ferrand Set 95
Set 45 Valence Set 96
Set 46 Contrexéville Set 97
Set 47 Nancy Set 98
Set 48 Comte-de-Nice Set 99
Set 49 Rennes Set 100 Saint Gervais-les-Bains
Set 50 Beauvais Set 101
Set 51 Givors + Grigny-Badan Set 102
Tri-voltage sets
Set Number Name Set Number Name
Set 110 Pays de Vaud Set 114
Set 111 Set 115
Set 112 Lausanne Set 116
Set 113 Set 116
Set 114 Set 117


3 Powercars of the TGV Sud-Est sets are preserved along with a cab end and one complete set

  • Cab end of No. 53 at Cité du train, Mulhouse.
  • Powercar No. 57 at the former La Chapelle depot as part of the "Grand Train" exhibition 40.
  • Powercar No. 61 by the Bischheim technicenter and intended for the Cité du train, Mulhouse
  • Powercar No. 112 at the Railway Museum in Ambérieu-en-Bugey.
  • Set No. 16 used on tours celebrating the speed record of the Sud-Est in 1981


Fleet details[edit]

Class No. in Service Year Built Operator Current Units Notes
Series 23000 0 1978–1985 SNCF 01-37, 39-69, 71-87, 89-102 Bicurrent
No. 38 rebuilt as TGV La Poste
No. 70 scrapped 1988
No. 88 rebuilt for TGV Atlantique testing
No. 101 rebuilt for tilt testing

Retired in December 2019

Series 33000 0 110-118 Tricurrent

In popular culture[edit]

The TGV Sud-Est served as basis for Guard Diver in Japanese mecha anime series The Brave Express Might Gaine.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TGV Spotter's Guide". Railfan Europe. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  2. ^ van Uden, Marcp. "SNCF withdrawn high-speed trains". Railfan Europe. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. ^ Perren, Brian (1997). TGV Handbook. London: Capital Transport. pp. 50–51. ISBN 1-85414-195-3.
  4. ^ "International Railway History Made at St. Pancras as a Cargo Carrying TGV Makes First Visit to the Station". Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  5. ^ "[SNCF] Farewell tour for Patrick, the first TGV train". Eng News 24h. 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  6. ^ "Goodbye "Patrick", the oldest TGV in France". Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  7. ^ a b Garvin, Brian; Fox, Peter; Appleby, Chris (1986). SNCF/French National Railways. Sheffield: Platform Five. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-906579-62-7.
  8. ^ "The Brave Express Might Gaine - Divers" (in Japanese). 3 June 2023.

External links[edit]