TGV (Train Grande Vitesse)
574.8… rail speed record for TGV
On 3 April 2007, the TGV smashed the world speed record, reaching 574.8 kph (356 mph) on the new TGV-Est high-speed line. The previous record was set in 1990 with 515 kph (322 mph). Since June 2007, it links Paris to Strasbourg in 2 hrs 20 mins at the commercial speed record of 320 kph (200 mph).
This new achievement confirms the TGV’s success for more than 25 years. Since its launch in 1981 with the opening of the Paris-Lyon line, the TGV network has continuously expanded throughout France. It has safely transported 1.2 billion passengers.
The TGV has helped develop regional cities and opened up many erstwhile isolated parts of France by improving access to and connections between them. It has also helped bring European capitals like London, Brussels and Amsterdam closer to French cities.
Environmentally-friendly and economically-profitable, it is also a symbol of sustainable development in the transport sector. Indeed, the TGV network is the main revenue earner for SNCF (French railways).
The TGV was exported to South Korea in 2004 and Taiwan opened its TGV line in October 2006. Talks are under way on the construction of a high-speed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
TGV in figures:
Total number of passengers since 1981 1.2 billion
Number of passengers per day 250 000
Number of TGV stations 250
Total length of high-speed rail network 1,540 kms (963 miles)
Commercial speed record 320 kph (200 mph)
Examples of journey times:
Paris-Lyon (250 miles – similar to London-Newcastle) 1 hr 55 mins
Paris-Marseille (500 miles – similar to London-Aberdeen) 3 hours
TGV speed record: video footage and figures
AGV, the future of TGV?
In February 2008, French company Alstom unveiled its newest generation of high speed train: AGV (Automotrice à Grande Vitesse, High-Speed Automotive). Its regular speed in commercial use could reach 225 mph, 25 mph faster than current TGV. Faster and ecologically-friendlier, AGV could be French high speed train for the future…