SNCF High-Speed Trains: 15 Years of Design, 13 TGV Generations

by François Lacôte, SNCF, Paris, France,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Pacific Rim TransTech Conference—Volume II: International Ties, Management Systems, Propulsion Technology, Strategic Highway Research Program


Less than ten years after the first high-speed revenue service, SNCF has just placed an order for a third generation of TGV rolling stock: the double-deck TGV. Between two generations, higher performance, improved comfort and safety, and decrease of both manufacturing and operating costs, have been the always pursued objectives. The basic concepts of the TGV trainset, many of which are due to the brilliant intuition of its initial designers, have remained practically unchanged through three generations. And yet the applied concepts have been refined and have gained benefit from the advancement of new technology, modern design methods, the use of new materials, some of which have been developed through research carried out in fields such as car or aerospace industries, outside railroad industry. When improved signalling and rolling stock (braking and capacity) are combined, the nominal output of a TGV line is more than doubled (+21 000 passengers per hour per direction of travel); where performance is concerned, the maximum speed during tests with series production rolling stock has risen from 380 km/h (236 mph) (February 1981) to 515 km/h (320 mph) (May 1990).

Subject Headings: Railroad trains | High-speed rail | Rapid transit systems | Traffic signals | System analysis | Revenues | Safety | Manufacturing

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