TGV

TGV

Overview

The TGV is France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

's high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF
SNCF
The SNCF , is France's national state-owned railway company. SNCF operates the country's national rail services, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network...

, the French national rail operator
Rail transport operations
A railway has two major components: the rolling stock and the infrastructure .-Operation:...

.

It was developed during the 1970s by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

) and SNCF. Although originally designed to be powered by gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

s, the TGV prototypes evolved into electric trains with the petrol crisis of 1973. Following the inaugural TGV service between Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 in 1981, the TGV network, centred on Paris, has expanded to connect cities across France and in adjacent countries.

A TGV test train set the record
Land speed record for railed vehicles
Determination of the fastest rail vehicle in the world varies depending on the definition of "rail".Official absolute world record for conventional train is held by the French TGV...

 for the fastest wheeled train, reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007.

At mid 2011, the TGV is the fastest conventional train in the world, reaching 320 km/h (198.8 mph) on the "LGV Est
LGV Est
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

".

A TGV service held the record for the fastest scheduled rail journey with a start to stop average speed of 279.4 km/h (173.6 mph), which was temporarily surpassed by the Chinese CRH
China Railway High-speed
China Railway High-speed ; ) is the high-speed rail system operated by China Railways.Hexie Hao is the designation for high-speed trains running on this rail system. At the middle of the run, all trains were marked "CRH" on the centre of the head vehicle and the side of the walls of each vehicle...

 service Harmony express on the Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
The Wuguang High-Speed Railway , short for Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, Wuhan–Guangzhou Section, is a high-speed rail line, operated by China Railway High-speed , connecting Wuhan and Guangzhou , in the People's Republic of China...

 from December 2009 until July 2011.

The success of the first line led to an expansion of the network, with new lines built in the south, west, north and east of the country.
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The TGV is France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

's high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF
SNCF
The SNCF , is France's national state-owned railway company. SNCF operates the country's national rail services, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network...

, the French national rail operator
Rail transport operations
A railway has two major components: the rolling stock and the infrastructure .-Operation:...

.

It was developed during the 1970s by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

) and SNCF. Although originally designed to be powered by gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

s, the TGV prototypes evolved into electric trains with the petrol crisis of 1973. Following the inaugural TGV service between Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 in 1981, the TGV network, centred on Paris, has expanded to connect cities across France and in adjacent countries.

A TGV test train set the record
Land speed record for railed vehicles
Determination of the fastest rail vehicle in the world varies depending on the definition of "rail".Official absolute world record for conventional train is held by the French TGV...

 for the fastest wheeled train, reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007.

At mid 2011, the TGV is the fastest conventional train in the world, reaching 320 km/h (198.8 mph) on the "LGV Est
LGV Est
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

".

A TGV service held the record for the fastest scheduled rail journey with a start to stop average speed of 279.4 km/h (173.6 mph), which was temporarily surpassed by the Chinese CRH
China Railway High-speed
China Railway High-speed ; ) is the high-speed rail system operated by China Railways.Hexie Hao is the designation for high-speed trains running on this rail system. At the middle of the run, all trains were marked "CRH" on the centre of the head vehicle and the side of the walls of each vehicle...

 service Harmony express on the Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
The Wuguang High-Speed Railway , short for Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, Wuhan–Guangzhou Section, is a high-speed rail line, operated by China Railway High-speed , connecting Wuhan and Guangzhou , in the People's Republic of China...

 from December 2009 until July 2011.

The success of the first line led to an expansion of the network, with new lines built in the south, west, north and east of the country. Eager to emulate the success of the French network, neighbouring countries such as Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 built their own high-speed lines. TGVs link with Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 through the French network, with Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 through the Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

 network, and the Eurostar
Eurostar
Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between England and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel....

 network links France and Belgium with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Several lines are planned, including extensions within France and to surrounding countries. Cities such as Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

 have become a part of a "TGV commuter
Commuting
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

 belt".

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

History


The idea of the TGV was first proposed in the 1960s, after Japan had begun construction of the Shinkansen
Shinkansen
The , also known as THE BULLET TRAIN, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of of lines with maximum speeds of , of Mini-shinkansen with a...

 (also known as the bullet train) in 1959. At the time the French government
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 favoured new technologies, exploring the production of hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

 and the Aérotrain
Aérotrain
The Aérotrain was a Hovertrain developed in France from 1965 to 1977. The lead engineer was Jean Bertin.The goal of the Aérotrain was similar to that of the magnetic levitation train: to suspend the train above the tracks so the only resistance is that of air resistance...

 air-cushion vehicle. Simultaneously, SNCF began researching high speed trains that would operate on conventional track. 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."

Development


It was originally planned that the TGV, then standing for ("very high speed") or ("high-speed turbine"), would be propelled by gas turbine-electric locomotive
Gas turbine-electric locomotive
A gas turbine - electric locomotive, or GTEL, is a locomotive that uses a gas turbine to drive an electric generator or alternator. The electric current thus produced is used to power traction motors. This type of locomotive was first experimented with during the Second World War, but reached its...

s. Gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

s were selected for their small size, good power-to-weight ratio
Power-to-weight ratio
Power-to-weight ratio is a calculation commonly applied to engines and mobile power sources to enable the comparison of one unit or design to another. Power-to-weight ratio is a measurement of actual performance of any engine or power sources...

 and ability to deliver high power over an extended period. The first prototype, TGV 001
TGV 001
TGV 001 was a high-speed railway train built in France. It was the first TGV prototype and was commissioned in 1969, to begin testing in 1972...

, was the only TGV constructed with this engine: following the increase in the price of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 during the 1973 energy crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, gas turbines were deemed uneconomic and the project turned to electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 from overhead lines
Overhead lines
Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit electrical energy to trams, trolleybuses or trains at a distance from the energy supply point...

. The electricity was to be generated by France's new nuclear power station
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s.

TGV 001 was not a wasted prototype: its gas-turbine powerplant was only one of many technologies for high-speed rail travel. It also tested high speed brakes, needed to dissipate the large amount of kinetic energy
Kinetic energy
The kinetic energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its motion.It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes...

 of a train at high speed, high-speed aerodynamics, and signalling. It was articulated, i.e. two adjacent carriages shared a bogie
Bogie
A bogie is a wheeled wagon or trolley. In mechanics terms, a bogie is a chassis or framework carrying wheels, attached to a vehicle. It can be fixed in place, as on a cargo truck, mounted on a swivel, as on a railway carriage/car or locomotive, or sprung as in the suspension of a caterpillar...

, allowing free yet controlled motion with respect to one another. It reached 318 km/h (197.6 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, pantograph
Pantograph (rail)
A pantograph for rail lines is a hinged electric-rod device that collects electric current from overhead lines for electric trains or trams. The pantograph typically connects to a one-wire line, with the track acting as the ground wire...

s, suspension
Suspension (vehicle)
Suspension is the term given to the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension systems serve a dual purpose — contributing to the car's roadholding/handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants...

 and braking
Brake
A brake is a mechanical device which inhibits motion. Its opposite component is a clutch. The rest of this article is dedicated to various types of vehicular brakes....

. Body mounting of motors allowed over 3 tonnes to be eliminated from the power cars and greatly reduced the unsprung weight
Unsprung weight
In a ground vehicle with a suspension, the unsprung weight is the mass of the suspension, wheels or tracks , and other components directly connected to them, rather than supported by the suspension...

. The prototype travelled almost 1000000 km (621,372.7 mi) during testing.

In 1976 the French government
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 funded the TGV project, and construction of the LGV Sud-Est
LGV Sud-Est
The LGV Sud-Est is a high-speed rail line, which links Paris' and Lyon's suburbs, in France. The inauguration of the first section between Saint-Florentin and Sathonay on 22 September 1981 marked the beginning of the re-invigoration of French passenger rail service.This line, subsequently...

, the first high-speed line , began shortly afterwards. The line was given the designation LN1, , (meaning 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


The TGV opened to the public between Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 on 27 September 1981. Contrary to its earlier fast services, SNCF intended the TGV service for all types of passengers, with the same ticket price as for trains running on the parallel conventional line. To counteract the popular misconception that the TGV would be another 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. This commitment to a democratised TGV service was further enhanced in the Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

 era with the promotional slogan "Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all". The TGV was considerably faster than normal trains, cars
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

, or aeroplanes
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

. The trains became widely popular, the public welcoming fast and practical travel.

Further LGVs have opened: the LGV Atlantique
LGV Atlantique
The LGV Atlantique is a high-speed railway line running from Paris to Western France. It opened in 1989-1990. It divides into two parts at Courtalain, one going westward to Le Mans , the second one going southwestward to Tours .-Route:The line leaves Gare Montparnasse to cross Paris's southern...

 (LN2) to Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

/Le Mans
Le Mans
Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region.Its inhabitants are called Manceaux...

 (construction begun 1985, in operation 1989); the LGV Nord-Europe
LGV Nord
The LGV Nord is a French 333-kilometre long high speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via Lille....

 (LN3) to Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

 and the Belgian border (construction begun 1989, in operation 1993); the LGV Rhône-Alpes
LGV Rhône-Alpes
The LGV Rhône-Alpes is a 115 km-long French high-speed rail line situated in the Rhône-Alpes region which extends the LGV Sud-Est southwards. Opening to service in 1994, this line bypasses the built-up Lyon area towards the east, and in addition serves Satolas station, now renamed...

 (LN4), extending the LGV Sud-Est to Valence
Valence, Drôme
Valence is a commune in southeastern France, the capital of the Drôme department, situated on the left bank of the Rhône, south of Lyon on the railway to Marseilles.Its inhabitants are called Valentinois...

 (construction begun 1990, in operation 1992); and the LGV Méditerranée
LGV Méditerranée
The LGV Méditerranée is a French high speed railway line of approximately 250 km length, which entered service in June, 2001. Running between Saint-Marcel-lès-Valence and Marseille, it connects the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon to the LGV Rhône-Alpes, and from...

 (LN5) to Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 (construction begun 1996, in operation 2001). The LGV Est
LGV Est
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

 (LN6) from Paris to Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 was inaugurated on 15 March 2007, and opened to the public in the summer of 2007. The LGV Perpignan-Figueras (LN7) opened on December 2010. And in 2011 the LGV Rhin-Rhône
LGV Rhin-Rhône
The LGV Rhin-Rhône is a high-speed railway line composed of three different branches:* The Eastern branch, from Genlis, near Dijon to Lutterbach, near Mulhouse* The Western branch, crossing Dijon, joining the LGV Sud-Est near Montbard...

 (LN8) first phase opening. In its first month of operation, more than 1,000,000 passengers traveled on the line. High speed lines based on LGV technology connecting with the French network have been built in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

The Eurostar
Eurostar
Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between England and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel....

 service began operation in 1994, connecting continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

 to London via the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

 with a version of the TGV designed for use in the tunnel and in the United Kingdom. The line used the LGV Nord-Europe from the outset. The first phase of the British High Speed 1 line, or Channel Tunnel Rail Link, was completed in 2003, and the second phase was completed in November 2007. The fastest trains take 2 hours 15 minutes on the London-Paris and 1 hour 51 minutes on the London-Brussels routes.

Milestones


The TGV was the world's fourth commercial high speed train service and third standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

 high speed train service, after Japan's Shinkansen, which first connected Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 and Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

 on 1 October 1964 (full service in 1975) and Russian ER200
ER200
The ER200 was a Soviet electric train built in Riga by Rīgas Vagonbūves Rūpnīca. It was the first high-speed Direct Current intercity Electric Multiple Unit with rheostatic brake....

 around 1964 (full service in 1984), and Britain's Intercity 125
InterCity 125
The InterCity 125 was the brand name of British Rail's High Speed Train fleet. The InterCity 125 train is made up of two power cars, one at each end of a fixed formation of Mark 3 carriages, and is capable of , making the train the fastest diesel-powered locomotive in regular service in the...

, intended for the UK's main lines such as the East Coast Mainline and which entered service in 1976. The TGV currently holds the world speed record
Land speed record for railed vehicles
Determination of the fastest rail vehicle in the world varies depending on the definition of "rail".Official absolute world record for conventional train is held by the French TGV...

 for conventional, wheel/rail trains. On 3 April 2007 a modified TGV POS train reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) under test conditions
TGV world speed record
The TGV holds a series of world speed records achieved by SNCF, the French national railway, and its industrial partners...

 on the LGV Est
LGV Est
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

.

The voltage on the test track between Paris and Strasbourg was boosted to 31 kV and extra ballast was tamped onto the right-of-way. It beat the 1990 world speed record
Land speed record for railed vehicles
Determination of the fastest rail vehicle in the world varies depending on the definition of "rail".Official absolute world record for conventional train is held by the French TGV...

 of 513.3 km/h (318.9 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.

The TGV was in 2007 the world's fastest conventional scheduled train
Land speed record for railed vehicles
Determination of the fastest rail vehicle in the world varies depending on the definition of "rail".Official absolute world record for conventional train is held by the French TGV...

: one journey's average start-to-stop speed from Lorraine-TGV to Champagne-Ardenne-TGV is 279.3 km/h (173.5 mph).
This record was surpassed on December 26, 2009 by the newly opened Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway in China
High-speed rail in China
High-speed rail in China refers to any commercial train service in the China with an average speed of or higher. By that measure, China has the world's longest high-speed rail network with about of routes in service as of June 2011 including of rail lines with top speeds of...

 where the fastest scheduled train covered 922 km (572.9 mi) at an average speed of 312.54 km/h (194.2 mph). However, on July 1, 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
British Rail Class 373
The British Rail Class 373 or TGV-TMST train is an electric multiple unit that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel...

 broke the record for the longest non-stop high-speed international journey in the world on 17 May 2006 carrying the cast and filmmakers of The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code (film)
The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard. The screenplay was written by Akiva Goldsman and based on Dan Brown's worldwide bestselling 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code...

from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Cannes
Cannes
Cannes is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. It is a Commune of France in the Alpes-Maritimes department....

 for the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

. The 1421 kilometres (883 mi) journey took 7 hours 25 minutes (average of 191.6 km/h (119.1 mph)).

The record for the fastest long distance run was set by a TGV Réseau
SNCF TGV Réseau
The SNCF TGV Réseau trains were built by Alstom between 1992 and 1996. These TGV trainsets are based on the earlier TGV Atlantique.The first Réseau sets entered service in 1993. Fifty dual-voltage trainsets were built in 1992-1994, numbered 501-550. A further 40 triple-voltage trainsets, numbered...

 train travelling from Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

-Frethun to Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 (1067.2 km, 663 mi) in 3 hours 29 minutes (306 km/h (190.1 mph)) for the inauguration of the LGV Méditerranée
LGV Méditerranée
The LGV Méditerranée is a French high speed railway line of approximately 250 km length, which entered service in June, 2001. Running between Saint-Marcel-lès-Valence and Marseille, it connects the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon to the LGV Rhône-Alpes, and from...

 on 26 May 2001.

Ridership


On 28 November 2003 the TGV network carried its one-billionth passenger, second only to the Shinkansen's five billionth passenger in 2000. The two-billion mark is expected to be reached in 2010.

Excluding international traffic, the TGV system had carried 98 million passengers during 2008, an increase of 8 million (9.1%) on the previous year.
Decade Passengers (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
from 1994 including Eurostarfrom 1997 including Thalys
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
2000 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
2010 2010


Tracks


The newest high-speed lines allow speeds of up to 320 km/h (199 mph) in normal operation. Originally, LGVs were defined as lines permitting speeds greater than 200 km/h (124 mph) ; this guideline was subsequently revised to 250 km/h (155 mph). Like most high-speed trains in Europe, TGVs also run on conventional track , at the normal maximum safe speed for those lines, up to a maximum of 220 km/h (137 mph). This allows them to reach secondary destinations or city centres without building new tracks all the way to the station, reducing costs compared to magnetic levitation trains or high-speed networks with a different gauge than the surrounding conventional network (as in Japan or Spain).

Track design


TGV track construction
TGV track construction
LGV construction is the process by which the land on which TGV trains are to run is prepared for their use, involving carving the trackbed and laying the track. It is similar to the building of standard railway lines, but there are differences. In particular, construction process is more precise in...

 is similar to that of normal railway lines, but with a few key differences. The radii
Radius
In classical geometry, a radius of a circle or sphere is any line segment from its center to its perimeter. By extension, the radius of a circle or sphere is the length of any such segment, which is half the diameter. If the object does not have an obvious center, the term may refer to its...

 of curves are larger so that trains can traverse them at higher speeds without increasing the centripetal acceleration felt by passengers. The radii of LGV curves have historically been greater than 4 km (2.5 mi). New lines have minimum radii of 7 km (4.3 mi) to allow for future increases in speed.

Lines used only for high-speed traffic can incorporate steeper gradients than normal. This facilitates the planning of LGVs and reduces their cost of construction. The high power/weight and adhesive weight/total weight ratios of TGVs allow them to climb much steeper grades than conventional trains. The considerable momentum at high speeds also helps to climb these slopes very fast without greatly increasing their energy consumption. The Paris-Sud-Est LGV has grades of up to 3.5% (on the German NBS high-speed line between Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 they reach 4%). On a line reserved for high-speed trains it is possible to have greater superelevation (tilt), since all trains are travelling at the same (high) speed and a train stopping on a curve because of a stop signal is a very rare event. Curve radii in high-speed lines have to be large, but increasing the superelevation allows for tighter curves while supporting the same train speed. Allowance for tighter curves can reduce construction costs by reducing the number and/or length of tunnels or viaducts and the volume of earthworks.

Track alignment is more precise than on normal railway lines, and ballast
Track ballast
Track ballast forms the trackbed upon which railway sleepers or railroad ties are laid. It is packed between, below, and around the ties. It is used to facilitate drainage of water, to distribute the load from the railroad ties, and also to keep down vegetation that might interfere with the track...

 is in a deeper-than-normal profile
Profile (engineering)
In standardization, a profile consists of an agreed-upon subset and interpretation of a specification. Many complex technical specifications have many optional features, such that two conforming implementations may not inter-operate due to choosing different sets of optional features to support...

, resulting in increased load-bearing capacity and track stability. LGV track is anchored by more sleepers or ties per kilometre than normal, and all are made of concrete, either mono- or bi-bloc, the latter consisting of two separate blocks of concrete joined by a steel bar. Heavy rail (UIC
International Union of Railways
The UIC , or International Union of Railways, is an international rail transport industry body.- Brief history :The railways of Europe originated as separate concerns. There were many border changes after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the...

 60) is used and the rails themselves are more upright, with an inclination of 1 in 40 as opposed to 1 in 20 on normal lines. Use of continuously welded rails in place of shorter, jointed rails yields a comfortable ride at high speed, without the "clickety-clack" vibrations induced by rail joints.

The points or switches
Railroad switch
A railroad switch, turnout or [set of] points is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another at a railway junction....

 on LGVs are different from those on the lignes classiques. Every LGV set of points incorporates a swingnose crossing
Swingnose crossing
A swingnose crossing or moveable point frog is a device used at a railway turnout to eliminate the gap at the common crossing which can cause damage and noise.- Fixed crossing :...

 (coeur à pointe mobile) or 'moveable point frog' which eliminates the gap in rail support as wheels of a train pass over the 'frog' of conventional points, causing shock and vibration. Eliminating shock and vibration makes the passage of a TGV over an LGV switch imperceptible to passengers, and reduces stresses on wheels and track. In addition, LGV switches permit much higher speeds. Crossover switches on LGV's permit a TGV to move from one track to the adjacent track at 160 km/h (99 mph). At junctions, such as the junction on the TGV Atlantique where the line to Le Mans diverges from the line to Tours, special points designed for higher speeds are installed which permit a diverging speed of 220 km/h (137 mph) .

The diameter of tunnels is greater than normally required by the size of the trains, especially at entrances. This limits the effects of air pressure changes, which could be problematic at TGV speeds.

Traffic limitations


LGVs are reserved primarily for TGVs. One reason for this is that capacity is sharply reduced when trains of differing speeds are mixed. Passing freight and passenger trains also constitute a safety risk, as cargo on freight cars can be destabilised by the air turbulence caused by the TGV.

The axle load
Axle load
The axle load of a wheeled vehicle is the total weight felt by the roadway for all wheels connected to a given axle. Viewed another way, it is the fraction of total vehicle weight resting on a given axle...

 of trains permitted to operate on LGV lines in France is limited to 17 tons. Conventional trains hauled by locomotives are not allowed on French LGVs, since the axle load of a typical European electric locomotive exceeds 20 tons; however, this limitation is not imposed on high-speed lines in other countries, such as Germany. Freight trains are not permitted on French LGVs. TGV 'power cars,' which are lightweight streamlined locomotives at both ends of TGV trainsets, satisfy the 17 ton limit. But when the double-deck TGV Duplex trains were introduced in the 1990s, special design efforts were needed (a 'hunt for kilograms,' chasse aux kilos) to reduce weight to ensure that the double-deck passenger cars conformed to the 17 ton limit. The 17 ton axle load limit is imposed to prevent heavyweight rolling stock from prematurely damaging the very accurate track alignment ('surface') on LGVs required for high-speed train operation.

The steep gradients common on LGVs would limit the weight of slow freight trains. Slower trains would also mean that the maximum track cant (banking on curves) would be limited, so for the same maximum speed, a mixed-traffic LGV would need to be built with curves of even larger radius. Such track would be much more expensive to build and maintain. Some stretches of less-used LGV are routinely mixed-traffic, such as the Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

 branch of the LGV Atlantique, and the planned Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

/Montpellier
Montpellier
-Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

 branch of the LGV Mediterranée. The British High Speed 1 from the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

 to London has been built with passing loops to support freight use, but this facility has not been used.

Maintenance on LGVs is carried out at night, when no TGVs are running.

Outside France, LGV-type lines often carry non-TGV intercity traffic, often as a requirement of the initial funding commitments. The Belgian LGV from Brussels to Liège carries 200 km/h (124 mph) loco-hauled trains, with both the Dutch HSL-Zuid
HSL-Zuid
HSL-Zuid , is a 125 km-long high-speed railway line in the Netherlands to the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda. Together with the Belgian HSL 4 it forms the Schiphol–Antwerp high-speed railway...

 and British High Speed 1 planned to carry 225 km/h (140 mph) domestic intercity services and 300 km/h (186 mph) international services. The Channel Tunnel is not an LGV, but it uses LGV-type TVM signalling for mixed freight, shuttle and Eurostar traffic at between 100 kilometre per hour. The "Standard Pathway
Train path
A train path is the infrastructure capacity needed to run a train between two places over a given time-period. In Europe, a train operator needs to purchase a train path from a rail infrastructure company to run a train on their tracks....

" for path allocation purposes is the time taken by one of Eurotunnel's own Shuttle trains (maximum speed 140 km/h (87 mph)) to traverse the tunnel. A single Eurostar running at 160 km/h (99 mph) occupies 2.67 standard paths; a second Eurostar running at minimum distance (3 minutes) behind the first train only "costs" a single additional path, so Eurostar services are often flighted 3 minutes apart throughout from London to Lille and back. A freight train running at 120 km/h (75 mph) occupies 1.33 paths. A freight running at 100 km/h (62 mph) occupies 3 paths. This illustrates the problem of mixed traffic at different speeds.
Train Class Speed Paths
Eurostar 160 km/h 2⅔ "catches up" with earlier trains
Eurostar (average for two) 160 km/h 1⅚ consecutive "flighted pair" at same speed
Eurotunnel Shuttle 140 km/h 1 optimal usage, all trains at same speed
Multi-modal freight 120 km/h 1⅓ "holds up" train behind it

Power supply


LGVs are all electrified
Railway electrification system
A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...

 at 25 kV 50 Hz AC
25 kV AC
The 25 kV Alternating current railway electrification system is commonly used in railways worldwide, especially for high-speed rail.-Overview:This electrification system is ideal for railways that cover long distances and/or carry heavy traffic...

. Catenary
Overhead lines
Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit electrical energy to trams, trolleybuses or trains at a distance from the energy supply point...

 wires are kept at a greater mechanical tension than normal lines because the pantograph
Pantograph (rail)
A pantograph for rail lines is a hinged electric-rod device that collects electric current from overhead lines for electric trains or trams. The pantograph typically connects to a one-wire line, with the track acting as the ground wire...

 causes oscillation
Oscillation
Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value or between two or more different states. Familiar examples include a swinging pendulum and AC power. The term vibration is sometimes used more narrowly to mean a mechanical oscillation but sometimes...

s in the wire, and the [wave] must travel faster than the train to avoid producing standing wave
Standing wave
In physics, a standing wave – also known as a stationary wave – is a wave that remains in a constant position.This phenomenon can occur because the medium is moving in the opposite direction to the wave, or it can arise in a stationary medium as a result of interference between two waves traveling...

s that would cause the wires to break. This was a problem when rail speed record attempts were made in 1990; power wire tension had to be increased further still to accommodate train speeds of over 500 km/h (310.7 mph). On LGVs, only the rear pantograph is raised, avoiding amplification of the oscillations created by the front pantograph. The front power car is supplied by a cable running along the roof of the train. Eurostar trains are long enough that oscillations are damped
Damping
In physics, damping is any effect that tends to reduce the amplitude of oscillations in an oscillatory system, particularly the harmonic oscillator.In mechanics, friction is one such damping effect...

 sufficiently between the front and rear power cars (British designers were wary of running a high-power line through passenger carriages, explaining the centrally located locomotive in their ill-fated Advanced Passenger Train
Advanced Passenger Train
The Advanced Passenger Train was an experimental tilting High Speed Train developed by British Rail during the 1970s and early 1980s....

), so both pantographs can be raised – there is no interconnecting high-voltage cable along the 400 m length of the train. The same also applies when two TGVs run in multiple. On lignes classiques slower maximum speeds prevent oscillation problems, and on DC lines both pantographs must be raised.

Separation


LGVs are fenced along their entire length to prevent trespassing by animals and people. Level crossing
Level crossing
A level crossing occurs where a railway line is intersected by a road or path onone level, without recourse to a bridge or tunnel. It is a type of at-grade intersection. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion...

s are not permitted and bridges over the line have sensors to detect objects that fall onto the track.

All LGV junctions are grade-separated
Grade separation
Grade separation is the method of aligning a junction of two or more transport axes at different heights so that they will not disrupt the traffic flow on other transit routes when they cross each other. The composition of such transport axes does not have to be uniform; it can consist of a...

, with tracks crossing each other using flyovers
Flying junction
A flying junction or flyover is a railway junction at which one or more diverging or converging tracks in a multiple-track route cross other tracks on the route by bridge to avoid conflict with other train movements. A more technical term is "grade-separated junction"...

 or tunnel
Tunnel
A tunnel is an underground passageway, completely enclosed except for openings for egress, commonly at each end.A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road traffic, for rail traffic, or for a canal. Some tunnels are aqueducts to supply water for consumption or for hydroelectric stations or are sewers...

s, eliminating crossing other tracks on the level.

Signalling



Because TGVs on LGVs travel too fast for their drivers to see and react to traditional lineside signals
Railway signal
A signal is a mechanical or electrical device erected beside a railway line to pass information relating to the state of the line ahead to train/engine drivers. The driver interprets the signal's indication and acts accordingly...

, an automated system called TVM, "Transmission Voie-Machine" or track-to-train transmission, is used for signalling. Information is transmitted to trains by electrical pulses sent through the rails, providing speed, target speed, and stop/go indications directly to the driver via dashboard-mounted instruments. This high degree of automation does not eliminate driver control, though there are safeguards that can safely stop the train in the event of driver error.

The line is divided into signal blocks of about 1500 m (≈1 mile) in TVM-430, with the boundaries marked by blue boards with a yellow triangle. Dashboard instruments show the maximum permitted speed for the train's current block and a target speed based on the profile of the line ahead. The maximum permitted speed is based on factors such as the proximity of trains ahead (with steadily decreasing speeds permitted in blocks closer to the rear of the next train), junction
Junction (rail)
A junction, in the context of rail transport, is a place at which two or more rail routes converge or diverge.This implies a physical connection between the tracks of the two routes , 'points' and signalling.one or two tracks each meet at a junction, a fairly simple layout of tracks suffices to...

 placement, speed restrictions, the top speed of the train and distance from the end of the LGV. As trains cannot usually stop within one signal block, which can range in length from a few hundred metres to a few kilometres, drivers are alerted to slow gradually several blocks before a required stop.

Two versions of TVM signalling, TVM 430 and TVM-300, are in use on LGV. TVM 430, a newer system, was first installed on the LGV Nord to the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

 and Belgium, and supplies trains with more information than TVM-300. Among other benefits, TVM 430 allows a train's on-board computer system to generate a continuous speed control curve in the event of an emergency brake activation, effectively forcing the driver to reduce speed safely without releasing the brake by displaying the Flashing Signal Aspects on the speedometer. Whenever the flashing signal is displayed, it means the Driver is required to apply the brake and target speed will be more constrained at next block section. Hence, the Driver may directly keep the brake application by those means.

The signalling system is normally permissive: the driver of a train is permitted to proceed into an occupied block section without first obtaining authorisation. Speed is limited to 30 km/h (18.6 mph) and if speed exceeds 35 km/h (21.7 mph) the emergency brake is applied. If the board marking the entrance to the block section is accompanied by a sign marked Nf, for non-franchissable, the block section is not permissive, and the driver must obtain authorisation from the Poste d'Aiguillage et de Régulation (PAR – Signalling and Control Centre) before entering. Once a route is set or the PAR has provided authorisation, a white lamp above the board is lit to inform the driver. The driver acknowledges the authorisation using a button on the control panel. This disables the emergency braking, which would otherwise occur when passing over the ground loop adjacent to the non-permissive board.

When trains enter or leave LGVs from lignes classiques, they pass over a ground loop that automatically switches the driver's dashboard indicators to the appropriate signalling system. For example, a train leaving the LGV for a ligne classique has its TVM system deactivated and its traditional KVB (Contrôle de Vitesse par Balises, or beacon speed control) system enabled.

The most recent LGV Est
LGV Est
The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

 is equipped with European Train Control System
European Train Control System
The European Train Control System is a signalling, control andtrain protection system designed to replace the many incompatible safety systems currently used by European railways, especially on high-speed lines.- History :...

 Level 2 signalling together with TVM 430. The LGV Est is already equipped with GSM-R
GSM-R
GSM-R, Global System for Mobile Communications - Railway or GSM-Railway is an international wireless communications standard for railway communication and applications. A sub-system of European Rail Traffic Management System , it is used for communication between train and railway regulation...

 radio communications which form one component of the European Rail Traffic Management System
European Rail Traffic Management System
The European Rail Traffic Management System is an initiative backed by the European Union to enhance cross-border interoperability and signalling procurement by creating a single Europe-wide standard for train control and command systems....

, and the communications-based ETCS Level 2 signalling system is the other component, which makes use of this radio communications network. Trains on the LGV Est can operate using either signalling system. Domestic TGV trains on the LGV Est operate using TVM 430, while TGV POS trainsets which operate into Germany use ETCS Level 2. The ETCS Level 2 and TVM 430 signal systems on the LGV Est both use the same block sections, but use different means (radio links for ETCS, and track-to-train transmission for TVM 430) to transmit signal information to trains. Since ERTMS is mandated for eventual adoption throughout the European Union, similar installations including ETCS signalling are expected on future Lignes à Grande Vitesse.

Stations







One of the main advantages of TGV over other fast rail technologies such as magnetic levitation is that TGVs can take advantage of existing infrastructure. This makes connecting city centres (such as Paris-Gare de Lyon
Gare de Lyon
Paris Lyon is one of the six large railway termini in Paris, France. It is the northern terminus of the Paris–Marseille railway. It is named after the city of Lyon, a stop for many long-distance trains departing here, most en route to the south of France. In general the station's SNCF services run...

 to Lyon-Perrache
Gare de Lyon-Perrache
Gare de Lyon-Perrache station is a large railway station in the quarter Perrache, in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon, France. It is situated on the Paris–Marseille railway, and it is the western terminus of the Lyon–Geneva railway and the southeastern terminus of the Moret–Lyon railway. It was built...

) by TGV a simple and inexpensive proposition. TGVs often use intra-city tracks and stations built for lower speed trains.

However, LGV route designers have tended to build new intermediate stations in suburban areas or in the open countryside several kilometers away from cities. This allows TGVs to stop without incurring too great a time penalty, since more time is spent on high speed track; in addition, many cities' stations are stub-ends, while LGV tracks frequently bypass cities. In some cases, stations have been built halfway between two communities. The station serving Montceau-les-Mines
Montceau-les-Mines
Montceau-les-Mines is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.It is the second-largest commune of the metropolitan Communauté urbaine Creusot-Montceau, which lies southwest of the city of Dijon....

 and Le Creusot
Le Creusot
Le Creusot is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.The inhabitants are known as Creusotins. Formerly a mining town, its economy is now dominated by metallurgical companies such as ArcelorMittal, Schneider Electric, and Alstom.Since the 1990s, the...

 is an example, and a more controversial example is Haute Picardie
Gare TGV Haute-Picardie
TGV Haute-Picardie is a railway station on the LGV Nord-Europe between Lille and Paris. Geographically, it is located about ten kilometers west of Péronne, between the towns of Saint Quentin and Amiens. When built, it was criticised by the press for being too far from any of the towns to be useful...

 station, between Amiens
Amiens
Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

 and Saint-Quentin
Saint-Quentin, Aisne
Saint-Quentin is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred here in the 3rd century....

. The press and local authorities criticised Haute Picardie as being too far from either town to be convenient, and too far from connecting railway lines to be useful for travellers. The station was nicknamed la gare des betteraves, or 'beet station', as it was surrounded by sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

 fields during construction. This nickname is now applied to similar stations away from town and city centres, whether in the vicinity of beet fields or not.

New railway stations have been built for TGV services, some of which are major architectural achievements in their own right. The Avignon TGV station
Gare d'Avignon TGV
Gare d'Avignon TGV is a railway station built on the LGV Méditerranée high-speed train line in South-eastern France. It is located a few kilometres south of Avignon town centre. Avignon itself is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.This station has two platforms with two through lines...

, opened in 2001, has been praised as one of the most remarkable stations on the network, with a spectacular 340 m (1,115 ft)-long glazed roof that has been compared to that of a cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

.

Rolling stock



TGVs are semi-permanently coupled articulated
Articulated vehicle
An articulated vehicle is a vehicle which has a permanent or semi-permanent pivoting joint in its construction, allowing the vehicle to turn more sharply. There are many kinds of articulated vehicles, from heavy equipment to buses, trams and trains...

 un-powered coaches, with Jacobs bogie
Jacobs bogie
Jacobs bogies are a type of rail vehicle bogie commonly found on articulated railcars and tramway vehicles....

s between the coaches, supporting both of them. Power car
Power car
A power car is a railroad vehicle that is closely related to the locomotive. What differentiates the two is their construction or their use. A true locomotive can be physically separated from its train and does nothing but provide propulsion . A power car, on the other hand, is frequently an...

s at each end of the trains have their own bogies. Trains can be lengthened by coupling two TGVs together, 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, by contrast, may split at coupling
Coupling (railway)
A coupling is a mechanism for connecting rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard, and is almost as important as the railway gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together.The equipment that connects the couplings to the...

s and jack-knife.

A disadvantage of this carriage design is that it is difficult to split sets of carriages. While TGV 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.

SNCF operates a fleet of about 550 TGVs. Seven types of TGV or TGV derivative currently operate on the French network; these are:
  • TGV Sud-Est (passengers) and TGV La Poste
    SNCF TGV La Poste
    The SNCF TGV La Poste trains were built by Alstom between 1978–1986. These TGV units are essentially TGV Sud-Est trainsets that are modified for transporting mail for the French postal carrier La Poste. The top speed is , making them the fastest freight trains in the world.5 half-trainsets were...

     (freight),
  • TGV Atlantique
    SNCF TGV Atlantique
    The TGV Atlantique is a class of high-speed trains used in France by SNCF; they were built by Alstom between 1988 and 1992, and were the second generation of TGV trains, following on from the TGV Sud-Est....

     (10 rather than 8 carriages)
  • TGV Réseau (similar to Atlantique, but only 8 carriages)
  • TGV TMST
    British Rail Class 373
    The British Rail Class 373 or TGV-TMST train is an electric multiple unit that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel...

     (Three Capitals and North of London),
  • TGV Duplex (two floors for greater passenger capacity),
  • Thalys PBA and PBKA
    Thalys
    Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

     (Benelux countries, derived from Réseau and Duplex respectively),
  • TGV POS (Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland, or Paris-Eastern France-Southern Germany).


There have also been several prototype variants on the TGV design which have broken several records, such as the V150 and TGV 001
TGV 001
TGV 001 was a high-speed railway train built in France. It was the first TGV prototype and was commissioned in 1969, to begin testing in 1972...

. V150 was a specially modified five-car trainset reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) under controlled conditions on a test run. The double decker TGV narrowly missed beating the overall world train speed record of 581 km/h (361 mph). 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
Emergency brake (train)
On trains, the expression emergency brake has several meanings:* The maximum brake force available to the driver/engineer from his conventional braking system, usually operated by taking the brake handle to its furthest postion, through a gate mechanism, or by pushing a separate plunger in the cab*...

.

Normal TGV trainsets travel at up to 320 km/h (198.8 mph) in commercial use. All TGVs are at least bi-current, which means that they can operate at 25 kV, 50 Hz AC on newer lines (including LGVs) and at 1.5 kV DC on older lines (such as the 1.5 kV lignes classiques that are common around Paris). Trains crossing the border into Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 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 use. When passing between areas of different supply voltage, marker boards remind the driver to turn off power to the traction motor
Traction motor
Traction motor refers to an electric motor providing the primary rotational torque of a machine, usually for conversion into linear motion ....

s, 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) Weight(Fully loaded) Power
(under 25 kV)
Power-to-weight(Empty) First built
TGV Sud-Est 270 km/h (167.8 mph) as built
300 km/h (186.4 mph) rebuilt
345 200.19 m (657 ft) 2.81 m (9.2 ft) 385 t
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

418 t
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

6,450 kW 16.7 W/kg 1978
*TGV Atlantique 300 km/h (186.4 mph) 485, 459 (after refurbishment) 237.5 m (780 ft) 2.90 m (9.5 ft) 444 t 484 t 8,800 kW 19.8 W/kg 1988
TGV Réseau 320 km/h (198.8 mph) 377, 361 (after refurbishment) 200.19 m (657 ft) 2.90 m (9.5 ft) 383 t 415 t 8,800 kW 23.0 W/kg 1992
TGV TMST
British Rail Class 373
The British Rail Class 373 or TGV-TMST train is an electric multiple unit that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel...

 Three Capitals
300 km/h (186.4 mph) 750 393.7 m (1,293 ft) 2.81 m (9.2 ft) 752 t 816 t 12,240 kW 16.3 W/kg 1993
TGV TMST
British Rail Class 373
The British Rail Class 373 or TGV-TMST train is an electric multiple unit that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel...

 North of London
300 km/h (186.4 mph) 596 318.9 m (1,033 ft) 2.81 m (9.2 ft) 665 t   12,240 kW 18.4 W/kg 1993
TGV Duplex 320 km/h (198.8 mph) 512 200.19 m (657 ft) 2.90 m (9.5 ft) 380 t 424 t 8,800 kW 23.2 W/kg 1994
Thalys PBKA
SNCF TGV Thalys PBKA
The Thalys PBKA is a high-speed train derived from the French TGV. It operates the Thalys service between Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam, forming the abbreviation PBKA....

300 km/h (186.4 mph) 377, 374 (after refurbishment) 200.19 m (657 ft) 2.90 m (9.5 ft) 385 t 415 t 8,800 kW 22.9 W/kg 1997
TGV POS 320 km/h (198.8 mph) 361 200.19 m (657 ft) 2.90 m (9.5 ft) 383 t 415 t 9,280 kW 24.2 W/kg 2005

TGV Sud-Est






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 operating, of which nine are tri-current (including 15 kV, 16⅔ Hz AC for use in Switzerland) and the rest bi-current. There are also seven bi-current half-sets without seats that carry mail for La Poste
La Poste (France)
La Poste is the mail service of France, which also operates postal services in the French Overseas Departments of Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the territorial collectivities of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte...

 between Paris, Lyon and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, 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 each of the carriages adjacent to the power cars. They are 200 m (656 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.

Originally the sets were built to run at 270 km/h (167.8 mph) but most were upgraded to 300 km/h (186.4 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



The Atlantique fleet was built between 1988 and 1992. 105 bi-current sets were built for the opening of the LGV Atlantique and entry into service began in 1989. They are 237.5 m (780 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 (186.4 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
Passenger miles per gallon
Passenger miles per gallon is a metric to evaluate the energy efficiency of a vehicle or transportation mode. The PMPG can be obtained by multiplying the miles per gallon of fuel by the passenger capacity or average occupancy...

, though with a typical occupancy of 60% it is about 460 PMPG (a Toyota Prius with three passengers is 144 PMPG).

Modified unit 325 set the world speed record
TGV world speed record
The TGV holds a series of world speed records achieved by SNCF, the French national railway, and its industrial partners...

 in 1990 on the new LGV before its opening. Various modifications, such as improved aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

, larger wheels and improved braking, were made to enable speeds of over 500 km/h (310.7 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



The first Réseau (Network) sets entered service in 1993. Fifty bi-current sets were ordered in 1990, supplemented by an order for 40 tri-current sets in 1992/1993. Ten of the tri-current sets carry the Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

 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
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

' 1.5 kV and Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 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 300 km/h. They are 200 m (656 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
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 with aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and hollow axles, to reduce the weight to under 17 tonnes 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 also coupled to a Duplex set.

Eurostar


The Eurostar train is essentially a long TGV, modified for use in the United Kingdom and in the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

. Differences include a smaller cross section to fit within the constrictive British loading gauge
Loading gauge
A loading gauge defines the maximum height and width for railway vehicles and their loads to ensure safe passage through bridges, tunnels and other structures...

, British-designed asynchronous
Asynchrony
Asynchrony, in the general meaning, is the state of not being synchronized.* Asynchronous learning* Collaborative editing systemsIn specific terms of digital logic and physical layer of communication, an asynchronous process does not require a clock signal, in contrast with synchronous and...

 traction motors, and extensive fireproofing
Fireproofing
Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves, or the act of applying such materials. Applying a certification listed fireproofing system to certain structures allows these to have a...

.

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
La Rochelle
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.The city is connected to the Île de Ré by a bridge completed on 19 May 1988...

 (France), Belfort
Belfort
Belfort is a commune in the Territoire de Belfort department in Franche-Comté in northeastern France and is the prefecture of the department. It is located on the Savoureuse, on the strategically important natural route between the Rhine and the Rhône – the Belfort Gap or Burgundian Gate .-...

 (France) and Washwood Heath
Washwood Heath
Washwood Heath is a ward in Birmingham, within the formal district of Hodge Hill, roughly two miles north-east of Birmingham city centre, England...

 (England), entering service in 1993.

Two types were built: the Three Capitals sets, consisting of two power cars and 18 carriages, including two with one powered bogie each, and the North of London sets, consisting of two power cars and 14 carriages, again with two with one powered bogie each. Full sets of both types consist of two identical half-sets which 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 NMBS/SNCB
NMBS/SNCB
The National Railway Company of Belgium, known as the or the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges is the Belgian national railway operator.It is usually referred to in English as "Belgian Railways" or the SNCB....

, and 18 by British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

, of which seven were North of London sets. Upon privatisation of British Rail
Privatisation of British Rail
The privatisation of British Rail was set in motion when the Conservative government enacted, on 19 January 1993, the British Coal and British Rail Act 1993 . This enabled the relevant Secretary of State to issue directions to the relevant Board...

 by the UK Government, the BR sets were bought by London and Continental Railways
London and Continental Railways
-History:Created at the time of the privatisation of British Rail it bid for and won the contract from the UK government in 1996 to build and operate High Speed 1 between London and the Channel Tunnel...

, whose subsidiary Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd.
Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd.
Eurostar International Limited is the operator of the Eurostar service operating between London, Paris and Brussels. It was formed on 1 September 2010 and is owned by London and Continental Railways , NMBS/SNCB and SNCF...

 is managed by a consortium of the National Express Group
National Express Group
National Express Group plc is a British transport group headquartered in Birmingham that operates bus, coach, rail and tram services in the UK, the US and Canada, Spain, Portugal and Morocco and long-distance coach routes across Europe...

 (40%), SNCF (35%), SNCB (15%) and British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

 (10%).

The sets operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186.4 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 a total of 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
Third rail
A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. It is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost...

 network. The third-rail system became obsolete in 2007 when the second phase of High Speed 1 was brought into use between London and the Channel Tunnel, as it uses 25 kV, 50 Hz AC exclusively. 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.






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 direct regional Eurostar
Regional Eurostar
Regional Eurostar was the name given to plans to operate Eurostar train services from Paris and Brussels to locations in the United Kingdom beyond London...

 services from continental Europe to UK cities north of London, using the West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line
The West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed-traffic railway route in Britain, being the country's most important rail backbone in terms of population served. Fast, long-distance inter-city passenger services are provided between London, the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and the...

 and the East Coast Main Line
East Coast Main Line
The East Coast Main Line is a long electrified high-speed railway link between London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, York, Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh...

, have never seen regular international use: budget airlines in the UK offered lower fares. A few of the sets were leased to GNER
Great North Eastern Railway
Great North Eastern Railway was a British train operating company, owned by Sea Containers Ltd. It operated high-speed express train services on the East Coast Main Line from 1996 until 9 December 2007 when the franchise was taken over by National Express East Coast.GNER's primary service routes...

 for use on its White Rose service between London and Leeds, with two of them carrying GNER's dark blue livery. The lease ended in December 2005 and a year later the same sets found themselves working services to Calais in France for SNCF, remaining in the standard Eurostar livery, minus the logos.

The Chief Executive of Eurostar, Richard Brown, has suggested that the trains could be replaced by double-decker 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
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, equivalent to adding an extra runway at a London airport.

Eurostar has higher security measures than other TGVs. 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 outside the Schengen Area
Schengen Area
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985...

, passengers travelling to or from the UK are subject to immigration checks. These take place before departure, so officials from the UK Border Agency
UK Border Agency
The UK Border Agency is the border control body of the United Kingdom government and part of the Home Office. It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency , UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs...

 are stationed in France and Belgium for this purpose, with their French counterparts stationed in the UK.

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
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

. A staircase gives access to the upper level, where the gangway between carriages is located. This layout provides 512 seats per set. On busy routes such as Paris-Marseille they are operated in pairs, providing 1,024 seats in a train of two Duplex sets, 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 totaling 160 units, making it the backbone of the SNCF TGV-fleet. They weigh 380 tonnes and are 200 m (656 ft) long, made up of two power cars and eight bi-level 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 (198.8 mph).

Thalys PBKA



Unlike Thalys PBA sets, the PBKA (Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam) sets were built exclusively for the Thalys service. They are technologically similar to TGV Duplex sets, but without bi-level carriages. 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 in service 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. They have eight carriages and are 200 m (656 ft) long, weighing a total of 385 tonnes. They have 377 seats.

Seventeen trains were ordered, nine by SNCB, six by SNCF and two by NS
Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen , or NS, is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.Its trains operate over the tracks of the Dutch national railinfrastructure, operated by ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003...

. Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company, a private joint stock company . Headquartered in Berlin, it came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany...

 contributed to financing two of the SNCB sets.

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 total power output of 9,600 kW and a top speed of 320 km/h (198.8 mph). Unlike TGV-A, TGV-R and TGV-D, it has asynchronous motors, and isolation of an individual motor in a powered bogie is possible in case of failure.

Network



France has around 1,897 km of (LGV), with three lines under construction. The current lines and those under construction can be grouped into four routes radiating from Paris:
  • South-West: LGV Atlantique
    LGV Atlantique
    The LGV Atlantique is a high-speed railway line running from Paris to Western France. It opened in 1989-1990. It divides into two parts at Courtalain, one going westward to Le Mans , the second one going southwestward to Tours .-Route:The line leaves Gare Montparnasse to cross Paris's southern...

     to Tours and Le Mans.
  • North: LGV Nord
    LGV Nord
    The LGV Nord is a French 333-kilometre long high speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via Lille....

     and High Speed 1 to London, with a branch towards Brussels.
  • East: LGV Est
    LGV Est
    The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

     to Strasbourg
  • South-East: LGV Sud-Est
    LGV Sud-Est
    The LGV Sud-Est is a high-speed rail line, which links Paris' and Lyon's suburbs, in France. The inauguration of the first section between Saint-Florentin and Sathonay on 22 September 1981 marked the beginning of the re-invigoration of French passenger rail service.This line, subsequently...

    , LGV Rhône-Alpes
    LGV Rhône-Alpes
    The LGV Rhône-Alpes is a 115 km-long French high-speed rail line situated in the Rhône-Alpes region which extends the LGV Sud-Est southwards. Opening to service in 1994, this line bypasses the built-up Lyon area towards the east, and in addition serves Satolas station, now renamed...

     and LGV Méditerranée
    LGV Méditerranée
    The LGV Méditerranée is a French high speed railway line of approximately 250 km length, which entered service in June, 2001. Running between Saint-Marcel-lès-Valence and Marseille, it connects the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon to the LGV Rhône-Alpes, and from...

     to Marseille, plus LGV Rhin-Rhône
    LGV Rhin-Rhône
    The LGV Rhin-Rhône is a high-speed railway line composed of three different branches:* The Eastern branch, from Genlis, near Dijon to Lutterbach, near Mulhouse* The Western branch, crossing Dijon, joining the LGV Sud-Est near Montbard...

     and LGV Perpignan-Figueres
    LGV Perpignan-Figueres
    The LGV Perpignan–Figueres is an international high-speed rail line between France and Spain. The line connects two cities on opposite sides of the border, Perpignan in Roussillon, France, and Figueres in Catalonia, Spain. It consists of a line which crosses the French–Spanish border via the ...

    .

The LGV Interconnexion Est connects the LGV Sud-Est to the LGV Nord around Paris, and the LGV Rhin-Rhône
LGV Rhin-Rhône
The LGV Rhin-Rhône is a high-speed railway line composed of three different branches:* The Eastern branch, from Genlis, near Dijon to Lutterbach, near Mulhouse* The Western branch, crossing Dijon, joining the LGV Sud-Est near Montbard...

 (under construction) will connect Strasbourg and Lyon.

Existing lines

  1. LGV Sud-Est
    LGV Sud-Est
    The LGV Sud-Est is a high-speed rail line, which links Paris' and Lyon's suburbs, in France. The inauguration of the first section between Saint-Florentin and Sathonay on 22 September 1981 marked the beginning of the re-invigoration of French passenger rail service.This line, subsequently...

     (Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     Gare de Lyon
    Gare de Lyon
    Paris Lyon is one of the six large railway termini in Paris, France. It is the northern terminus of the Paris–Marseille railway. It is named after the city of Lyon, a stop for many long-distance trains departing here, most en route to the south of France. In general the station's SNCF services run...

     to Lyon-Perrache
    Gare de Lyon-Perrache
    Gare de Lyon-Perrache station is a large railway station in the quarter Perrache, in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon, France. It is situated on the Paris–Marseille railway, and it is the western terminus of the Lyon–Geneva railway and the southeastern terminus of the Moret–Lyon railway. It was built...

    ), the first LGV (opened 1981)
  2. LGV Atlantique
    LGV Atlantique
    The LGV Atlantique is a high-speed railway line running from Paris to Western France. It opened in 1989-1990. It divides into two parts at Courtalain, one going westward to Le Mans , the second one going southwestward to Tours .-Route:The line leaves Gare Montparnasse to cross Paris's southern...

     (Paris Gare Montparnasse
    Gare Montparnasse
    Paris Montparnasse is one of the six large terminus railway stations of Paris, located in the Montparnasse area in the XIVe arrondissement. The station was opened in 1840, and rebuilt completely in 1969...

     to Tours
    Tours
    Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

     and Le Mans
    Le Mans
    Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region.Its inhabitants are called Manceaux...

    ) (opened 1990)
  3. LGV Rhône-Alpes
    LGV Rhône-Alpes
    The LGV Rhône-Alpes is a 115 km-long French high-speed rail line situated in the Rhône-Alpes region which extends the LGV Sud-Est southwards. Opening to service in 1994, this line bypasses the built-up Lyon area towards the east, and in addition serves Satolas station, now renamed...

     (Lyon to Valence
    Valence, Drôme
    Valence is a commune in southeastern France, the capital of the Drôme department, situated on the left bank of the Rhône, south of Lyon on the railway to Marseilles.Its inhabitants are called Valentinois...

    ) (opened 1992)
  4. LGV Nord
    LGV Nord
    The LGV Nord is a French 333-kilometre long high speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via Lille....

    , HSL 1
    HSL 1
    The HSL 1 is a Belgian high speed rail line which connects Brussels with LGV Nord at the border with France. It is long with 71 km of dedicated high-speed tracks and 17 km of modernised lines. Service began on 14 December 1997....

     (Paris Gare du Nord
    Gare du Nord
    Paris Nord is one of the six large terminus railway stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro and RER...

     to Lille
    Lille
    Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

     and Brussels
    Brussels
    Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

     and on towards London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

     (HSL-Zuid
    HSL-Zuid
    HSL-Zuid , is a 125 km-long high-speed railway line in the Netherlands to the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda. Together with the Belgian HSL 4 it forms the Schiphol–Antwerp high-speed railway...

    ) and Cologne
    Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

    ) (opened 1993)
  5. LGV Interconnexion Est (LGV Sud-Est to LGV Nord Europe, east of Paris) (opened 1994)
  6. LGV Méditerranée
    LGV Méditerranée
    The LGV Méditerranée is a French high speed railway line of approximately 250 km length, which entered service in June, 2001. Running between Saint-Marcel-lès-Valence and Marseille, it connects the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon to the LGV Rhône-Alpes, and from...

     (An extension of LGV Rhône-Alpes: Valence to Marseille Saint Charles) with a branch to Nîmes (opened 2001)
  7. High Speed 1 (Channel Tunnel
    Channel Tunnel
    The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

     to London St Pancras International
    St Pancras railway station
    St Pancras railway station, also known as London St Pancras and since 2007 as St Pancras International, is a central London railway terminus celebrated for its Victorian architecture. The Grade I listed building stands on Euston Road in St Pancras, London Borough of Camden, between the...

    ) (Phase 1 opened 2003, phase 2 opened 14 November 2007)
  8. LGV Est
    LGV Est
    The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

     (Paris Gare de l'Est-Strasbourg
    Strasbourg
    Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

    ) (opened 10 June 2007)
  9. LGV Perpignan-Figueres
    LGV Perpignan-Figueres
    The LGV Perpignan–Figueres is an international high-speed rail line between France and Spain. The line connects two cities on opposite sides of the border, Perpignan in Roussillon, France, and Figueres in Catalonia, Spain. It consists of a line which crosses the French–Spanish border via the ...

     (Spain to France) (construction finished February 17, 2009, TGV service from 19 December 2010)

Lines under construction

  1. LGV Rhin-Rhône
    LGV Rhin-Rhône
    The LGV Rhin-Rhône is a high-speed railway line composed of three different branches:* The Eastern branch, from Genlis, near Dijon to Lutterbach, near Mulhouse* The Western branch, crossing Dijon, joining the LGV Sud-Est near Montbard...

     (Lyon
    Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

    -Dijon
    Dijon
    Dijon is a city in eastern France, the capital of the Côte-d'Or département and of the Burgundy region.Dijon is the historical capital of the region of Burgundy. Population : 151,576 within the city limits; 250,516 for the greater Dijon area....

    -Mulhouse
    Mulhouse
    Mulhouse |mill]] hamlet) is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 110,514 and 278,206 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2006, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, and the second largest in the Alsace region after...

    ), due to open December 2011.
  2. LGV Est
    LGV Est
    The LGV Est européenne is an extension to the French high-speed rail network, connecting currently Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt , and later Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim . , it is the newest high-speed line in France and still under construction, with of a planned in service...

     second phase, due to open March 2016.
  3. LGV Sud Europe Atlantique
    LGV Sud Europe Atlantique
    The LGV Sud Europe Atlantique , also known as the LGV Sud-Ouest, is a high-speed railway line in the early stages of construction, running between Tours and Bordeaux, in France. When built, it will be used by TGV trains operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. The project has been...

     (Tours
    Tours
    Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

    -Bordeaux
    Bordeaux
    Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

    ), extending the southern branch of the LGV Atlantique
    LGV Atlantique
    The LGV Atlantique is a high-speed railway line running from Paris to Western France. It opened in 1989-1990. It divides into two parts at Courtalain, one going westward to Le Mans , the second one going southwestward to Tours .-Route:The line leaves Gare Montparnasse to cross Paris's southern...

     (also called LGV Sud-Ouest). due to open in 2019 and 2017.
  4. LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire
    LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire
    The LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire is a proposed French high-speed rail line which is scheduled to be complete by 2016. Running between Le Mans and Rennes, it would be serviced by TGV trains operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. The total cost is put at €3.4bn, with funding agreed...

     (Le Mans
    Le Mans
    Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region.Its inhabitants are called Manceaux...

    -Rennes
    Rennes
    Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...

    ), extending the western branch of the LGV Atlantique
    LGV Atlantique
    The LGV Atlantique is a high-speed railway line running from Paris to Western France. It opened in 1989-1990. It divides into two parts at Courtalain, one going westward to Le Mans , the second one going southwestward to Tours .-Route:The line leaves Gare Montparnasse to cross Paris's southern...

    .

Planned lines

  1. Lyon Turin Ferroviaire
    Lyon Turin Ferroviaire
    Lyon Turin Ferroviaire , subsidiary of Réseau Ferré de France and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana , is the promoter of the joint French-Italian part of the future rail link between Lyon and Turin....

     (Lyon
    Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

    -Chambéry
    Chambéry
    Chambéry is a city in the department of Savoie, located in the Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.It is the capital of the department and has been the historical capital of the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V of Savoy made the city his seat of power.-Geography:Chambéry...

    -Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

    ), connecting to the Italian TAV
    Treno Alta Velocità
    Treno Alta Velocità SpA is special purpose entity owned by RFI for the planning and construction of a high-speed network in Italy.-Purpose:...

     network.
  2. LGV Bordeaux–Toulouse-Narbonne
    Narbonne
    Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

  3. LGV Poitiers-Limoges
    LGV Poitiers-Limoges
    The LGV Poitiers-Limoges is an approximately 100 km long French high speed rail project reserved for passenger traffic between Poitiers and Limoges...

  4. LGV Picardie (Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     – Amiens
    Amiens
    Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

     – Calais
    Calais
    Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

    ), cutting off the corner of the LGV Nord-Europe via Lille.
  5. LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
    LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
    The LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, also referred to as the LGV PACA and LGV Côte d'Azur, is a high speed rail project intended to extend the LGV Méditerranée towards the Côte d'Azur...

     (Marseille
    Marseille
    Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

     – Nice
    Nice
    Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

    ), will reduce Paris – Nice travel times from 5h25 to 3h50 by 2025.
  6. LGV Paris-Cherbourg
    LGV Paris-Cherbourg
    An LGV line from Paris to Cherbourg is proposed. It was announced by President Sarkozy in April 2009, with a few further details fleshed out during a visit to Rouen by French Transport minister, Dominique Bussereau. Working groups have been established consisting of leaders of the local governments...

     will run from Paris to Rouen, Le Havre, Caen and Cherbourg. The line would have a stop in La Défense where it would meet with a proposed link to LGV Nord and a proposed Eurostar service to terminate in La Défense.
  7. Second Paris - Lyon LGV On July 30, 2010, the French government announced that is expects to start work on a second LGV between Paris and Lyon between 2020 and 2030. The train will run via Orléans and Clermont-Ferrand, at a length of 410 km, and is expected to cost €12bn. The route will be known as LGV POCL (Paris, Orléans, Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon). Four potential routes are being studied as of 2011, with consultations continuing into 2012. Work is expected to start after 2025.


Amsterdam and Cologne are served by Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

 TGVs running on ordinary and high speed line track. London is served by Eurostar
Eurostar
Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between England and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel....

 trains running on High Speed 1 – Eurostar now runs on fully segregated line once in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

TGV technology outside France


TGV technology has been adopted in a number of other countries separately from the French network:
  • AVE
    AVE
    Alta Velocidad Española is a service of high-speed rail in Spain operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, at speeds of up to . The name is literally translated from Spanish as "Spanish High Speed", but also a play on the word , meaning "bird".AVE trains run on a network of...

     (Alta Velocidad Española), in Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    .
  • Thalys
    Thalys
    Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

     in Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    , the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     and Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    .
  • Korea Train Express
    Korea Train Express
    Korea Train eXpress is South Korea's high-speed rail system, operated by Korail. Construction began on the first section of the high-speed line from Seoul to Busan in 1992. The project was later split into two phases and combined with conventional line upgrades, adding a second route from Seoul to...

     (KTX), in South Korea
    South Korea
    The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

    .
  • British Rail Class 373
    British Rail Class 373
    The British Rail Class 373 or TGV-TMST train is an electric multiple unit that operates Eurostar's high-speed rail service between Britain, France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel...

     in Great Britain
    Great Britain
    Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

    .
  • Acela Express
    Acela Express
    The Acela Express is Amtrak's high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor in the Northeast United States between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York...

    , a high-speed tilting train
    Tilting train
    A tilting train is a train that has a mechanism enabling increased speed on regular rail tracks. As a train rounds a curve at speed, objects inside the train experience centrifugal force. This can cause packages to slide about or seated passengers to feel squashed by the outboard armrest due to...

     built by TGV participant Bombardier
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

     for the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , which uses TGV motor technology (though the rest of the train is unrelated).
  • The Moroccan government agreed to a €2 billion contract for the French construction firm Alstom
    Alstom
    Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

     to build a TGV-line between Tangier
    Tangier
    Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

     and Casablanca
    Casablanca
    Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

    . The train is to be operational in 2013.
  • The Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba high-speed railway
    Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba high-speed railway
    The Buenos Aires–Rosario–Córdoba high-speed railway is a project designed to link the Argentine cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba through a high-speed rail network. The plan, announced by President Néstor Kirchner during a press conference at the Casa Rosada on 26 April 2006, would be...

    , in Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    , will have French TGV Duplex trains, running at 320 km/h (198.8 mph).
  • Italian open-access high-speed operator Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori
    Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori
    Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori is an Italian company which plans to be Europe's first private open access operator of 300 km/h high speed trains. NTV was created by four Italian businessmen to compete with Trenitalia. French state railway SNCF has a 20% stake in NTV...

     has signed up with Alstom
    Alstom
    Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

     to purchase 25 AGV
    Automotrice à grande vitesse
    The Automotrice à grande vitesse ' is an Alstom train intended as the successor to France’s TGV high-speed trains; the name stands for automotrice à grande vitesse, or ‘high-speed self-propelled carriage’...

     11-car sets (TGV 4th generation, running at 350 km/h (217.5 mph)) for delivery starting in 2009.

Future TGVs


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 AGV
Automotrice à grande vitesse
The Automotrice à grande vitesse ' is an Alstom train intended as the successor to France’s TGV high-speed trains; the name stands for automotrice à grande vitesse, or ‘high-speed self-propelled carriage’...

, automotrice à grande vitesse (high speed multiple unit). The AGV design has motors under each carriage. Investigations are being carried out with the aim of producing trains at the same cost as existing 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 (223.7 mph). The prototype AGV was unveiled by Alstom on February 5, 2008.

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 motorised bogies underneath them, as would the first and last carriage of the train, to make up for the lost power.

Italian operator NTV
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori is an Italian company which plans to be Europe's first private open access operator of 300 km/h high speed trains. NTV was created by four Italian businessmen to compete with Trenitalia. French state railway SNCF has a 20% stake in NTV...

 is the first customer for the AGV, and intends to become the first open access high speed rail operator in Europe, when it starts operation of its AGVs in Italy in 2011.

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 (167.8 mph), but in none of these did any 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 crossing
Level crossing
A level crossing occurs where a railway line is intersected by a road or path onone level, without recourse to a bridge or tunnel. It is a type of at-grade intersection. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion...

s.

On LGVs

  • 14 December 1992: TGV 920 from Annecy to Paris, operated by set 56, derailed at 270 km/h (167.8 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
    Railroad switch
    A railroad switch, turnout or [set of] points is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another at a railway junction....

     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 (186.4 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
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     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 NMBS/SNCB
    NMBS/SNCB
    The National Railway Company of Belgium, known as the or the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges is the Belgian national railway operator.It is usually referred to in English as "Belgian Railways" or the SNCB....

    , derailed at 250 km/h (155.3 mph) in the Nord-Pas de Calais
    Nord-Pas de Calais
    Nord-Pas de Calais , Nord for short, is one of the 27 regions of France. It consists of the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais, in the north and has a border with Belgium. Most of the region was once part of the Southern Netherlands, within the Low Countries, and gradually became part of France...

     region near Croisilles
    Croisilles, Pas-de-Calais
    Croisilles is a village and commune in the Pas-de-Calais department of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.-Geography:A small farming village located 8 miles south of Arras at the junction of the D5 and D9 roads...

    . 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 and others treated for shock.

On lignes classiques

  • 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
    Voiron
    Voiron is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France.- History :Voiron long formed part of Savoy, but in 1355 was exchanged by the count with France for Faucigny and Gex.Historical population:* 1901: 12,625- Geography :Voiron stands at a height of 950 ft., on the Morge Voiron...

    , Isère
    Isère
    Isère is a department in the Rhône-Alpes region in the east of France named after the river Isère.- History :Isère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Dauphiné...

    . The vehicle had not been permitted to cross by 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 (37.3 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 (80.8 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 (80.8 mph) near Dax
    Dax, Landes
    Dax is a commune in Aquitaine in south-western France, sub-prefecture of the Landes department.It is particularly famous as a spa, specialising in mud treatment for rheumatism and similar ailments....

     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 (65.9 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 train from Paris to Geneva collided at about 100 km/h (62.1 mph) with a truck on a level crossing near Tossiat
    Tossiat
    Tossiat is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France.-Population:...

     in eastern France, near the Swiss border. The driver of the truck died; on the train, one was seriously injured and 24 were slightly 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
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

 to Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 at the end of the LGV Atlantique has no level crossings as a result.

Protests against the TGV


The first environmental protests against the building of a high-speed line in France 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 Marseilles from Lyon.

Lyon Turin Ferroviaire
Lyon Turin Ferroviaire
Lyon Turin Ferroviaire , subsidiary of Réseau Ferré de France and Rete Ferroviaria Italiana , is the promoter of the joint French-Italian part of the future rail link between Lyon and Turin....

 (Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

-Chambéry
Chambéry
Chambéry is a city in the department of Savoie, located in the Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.It is the capital of the department and has been the historical capital of the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V of Savoy made the city his seat of power.-Geography:Chambéry...

-Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

), which would connect the TGV to the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 TAV
Treno Alta Velocità
Treno Alta Velocità SpA is special purpose entity owned by RFI for the planning and construction of a high-speed network in Italy.-Purpose:...

 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. The concerns of the protesters centre around storing dangerous materials mined from mountain, like asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 and uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, in the open air. This serious health danger could be avoided by using more appropriate but expensive techniques for handling radioactive materials. 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
Treno Alta Velocità
Treno Alta Velocità SpA is special purpose entity owned by RFI for the planning and construction of a high-speed network in Italy.-Purpose:...

 high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 network as a whole.

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

See also


  • TER-GV
    TER-GV
    TER-GV, a portmanteau of TER and TGV , are regional TGV linking relatively nearby cities using the LGV Nord dedicated high-speed line...

     - TGVs operating on relatively short distances along the LGV Nord
    LGV Nord
    The LGV Nord is a French 333-kilometre long high speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via Lille....

  • TGV track construction
    TGV track construction
    LGV construction is the process by which the land on which TGV trains are to run is prepared for their use, involving carving the trackbed and laying the track. It is similar to the building of standard railway lines, but there are differences. In particular, construction process is more precise in...

  • TGV world speed record
    TGV world speed record
    The TGV holds a series of world speed records achieved by SNCF, the French national railway, and its industrial partners...

     – overview and chronology of speed record attempts
  • iDTGV
    IDTGV
    iDTGV is a TGV high speed train service from SNCF, the French national railroad company. It only sells its tickets online. Carriages are separated into two zones: iDZen for customers wishing a quiet trip, where mobile phones and loud conversations are banned, and iDZap for customers looking for...

  • Train categories in Europe
    Train categories in Europe
    Railway companies in Europe assign their trains to different categories or train types depending on their role. Passenger trains may be broadly split into long-distance and local trains; the latter having average journey times of under an hour and a range of less than 50 kilometres. Goods trains...

  • V150
    V150
    The V150 was a specially configured high-speed train notable for breaking the world land speed record for conventional railed trains on 3 April 2007...


Further reading

  • Cinotti, Eric and Tréboul, Jean-Baptiste (2000) Les TGV européens : Eurostar, Thalys, Paris : Presses universitaires de France, ISBN 2-13-050565-1 (in French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

    )
  • Perren, Brian (2000) TGV handbook, 2nd ed., Harrow Weald : Capital Transport, ISBN 1-85414-195-3
  • Soulié, Claude and Tricoire, Jean (2002) Le grand livre du TGV, Paris : La Vie du rail, ISBN 2-915034-01-X (in French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

    )

External links