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  • Hey folks, welcome back to the channel! Today  we have our most requested high speed rail  

  • explained yet, France. France was the first  country in Europe with true high speed rail  

  • and it has a large network of high speed lines  connecting it as well as neighboring countries.  

  • France's high speed rail development  has been incredibly successful and  

  • influential and is making waves  to this day. Let's break it down.

  • During the 60's and 70's France was  working aggressively to expand its  

  • technological capabilities and with the  Shinkansen opening in the mid 1960's  

  • high speed rail featured  prominently in these plans.

  • The iconic brand of TGV  

  • (train grande vitesse or very fast train) began  with not electric traction but with gas turbines.

  • As it was though, the oil crisis struck  a few years into project development  

  • and with the massive influx of new nuclear  power generation onto the French power grid  

  • electric traction - already being used  on the Shinkansen was the decided on.

  • The first LGV or high speed line, the LGV  Sud-Est, opened in 1981 between Paris and Lyon,

  • though as you probably expect high speed tracks  ended on the city's outskirts at the time,  

  • this works well given France's  centralization around Paris.

  • This was actually several years after the  start of operation of the British Intercity 125  

  • but trains were faster and used electric  traction as opposed to their British equivalents.

  • The opening of the first line set  everything in motion, the trains  

  • were highly successful and the network  continued to grow rapidly for decades.

  • In 1990 a new LGV opened between  Paris and Tours as well as Le Mans.

  • In 1992 an LGV opened from  North of Lyon to Valence.

  • Then the next year in 1993 an LGV North to Calais  opened across the English Channel from Dover.

  • The final expansion of the 20th century sawnew connection built between the original LGV  

  • and the LGV Nord East of Paris, allowing for  more flexibility and for trains to bypass Paris.

  • This line also brought the TGV  to Charles de Gaulle airport,

  • one of the earliest and most influential modal  

  • connections between high  speed rail and air travel,

  • it also brough high speed rail  directly to Disneyland Paris,  

  • still the only resort withdirect high speed rail connection.

  • Of course, in 1994 the Channel Tunnel opened and  Eurostar Service which is majority owned by SNCF,  

  • though I would like to point  out to my viewers that CDPQ,  

  • builders of the Montreal  REM own 30% of the company.

  • While I will leave detailed discussion of HSto a future video on high speed rail in the UK,  

  • suffice to say the line was built with French  LGV standards and uses French cab signalling.

  • In 1997 the LGV Nord also  got connected up to Brussels  

  • and Amsterdam, which Eurostar  trains also serve now.

  • In 2001 the TGV network finally  reached the Mediterranean Sea  

  • extending the existing line to  Valence all the way to Marseille.

  • In 2007 a new LGV travelling East  from Paris to just north of Nancy  

  • opened on the way to Strasbourg.

  • In 2010 the line to Figueres  in Spain from Perpignan opened,  

  • allowing high speed rail  service across the border.

  • In 2011 a new LGV opened  between Dijon and Mulhouse.

  • Then roughly 5 years later the LGV was extended  from Tours to Bordeaux in the South of France,  

  • and from Le Mans to Rennes, and the LGV East from  Paris now reaches the outskirts of Strasbourg.

  • At the end of 2017 the line to  Montpellier was extended further  

  • towards the Spanish border though it is  yet to carry true high speed services.

  • This is the TGV network as it is todaybut things aren't standing still.

  • A new high speed line is currently being  built between Lyon and Turin in Italy  

  • which will provide a high quality link between  the respective high speed rail networks,  

  • the network contains a significant  new base tunnel which will be 50  

  • kilometers long and which will carry  both passenger and freight traffic.

  • Of course there are a number of projects  in planning as well which I'll discuss now.

  • First is a full high speed line  from Montpellier to Perpignan.

  • Second is an extension of the  line to Bordeaux to Toulouse.

  • Third, is an extension of the LGV Sud  Atlantique from Poitiers to Limoges.

  • Fourth is a line from Marseille to Nice  which has been toned down from a true LGV  

  • into a more modest upgrade program.

  • Fifth is another extension of the  Sud Atlantique to the Spanish border,  

  • set to create a second high speed  route between France and Spain.

  • Sixth is the conversion of the Lyon, DijonMulhouse infrastructure to fully high speed.

  • Seventh is a new semi high speed line  to Normandy as well as some expanded  

  • services and infrastructure in  La Defense, Paris' business hub.

  • Eighth is the extension of the line  between Bordeaux and Toulouse to Narbonne.

  • Ninth is a new more direct LGV between  Paris and Calais bypassing Lille.

  • The tenth and biggest major planned project  

  • is a new redundant route between  Paris and Lyon via Orleans.

  • Before we get into other elements  of French high speed rail,  

  • I think it's worth addressing the topology  of the French high speed rail network.

  • As I mentioned in my previous  German high speed rail network,  

  • France has less of a mesh and more of a radial  network but, as you've seen things are changing.

  • Over time Lyon is gaining more  and more connections which is  

  • allowing it to begin to become a hub  in the way previously only Paris was.

  • It's also worth pointing out the high  speed lines in France are continuous  

  • with lots of bypasses and there  are a lot of non-stop trains,  

  • this leads to much faster travel times  for similar distances to Germany.

  • With regard to ticket prices, TGV services tend  to be quite affordable, and this was a choice  

  • from the beginning, instead of operating  slower services in Parallel as in Germany.

  • TGV fares were set at parity  with conventional service.

  • A trip from Paris to Lyon ranges  between 50 and 150 dollars,  

  • however in an innovative step in 2013 a  low cost carrier - OuiGo was introduced.

  • OuiGo has been quite disruptive, as passengers  can get tickets on routes like Paris - Lyon for  

  • less than 30 dollars and as little as 10  for children. This is achieved through a  

  • number of efficiency measures. Trains are  bilevel and 100% second class and none are  

  • new they have all been converted, they  tend to use less busy suburban stations.

  • instead of downtown terminals,  

  • trains operate more intensive schedulesand overhead is kept to a minimum.

  • OuiGo's success has seen it  expand to offer more services  

  • and inspire other services like  the forthcoming Avlo in Spain.

  • The TGV network also interconnects substantially  

  • with services travelling into a variety of  other countries, often with joint operators.

  • For example Eurostar services to the UK,

  • Thalys services to Belgium and the Netherlands,

  • Alleo services into Germany (though the Alleo  

  • brand isn't used passengers  are riding an ICE or a TGV),

  • Renfe-SNCF which operates  services between Spain and France,

  • and Lyria which operates  services into Switzerland.

  • Of course many of these services  travel substantial distances  

  • off of high speed lines, particularly  those travelling to Switzerland.

  • Cumulative ridership on TGV now  branded InOui and OuiGo has well  

  • exceeded 2 billion riders and over 120  millions more riders are carried every  

  • year. This has massively changed the  domestic travel market in the country.

  • Perhaps the greatest success, and most  interesting part of TGV is the rolling  

  • stock. As mentioned earlier the TGV started  with gas turbine designs, but has now become  

  • the default loco hauled high speed train design  used in most of the world, and have also become  

  • iconic for their universal use of Jacobs bogies  which are bogies shared between two cars.

  • First we have the original iconic Orange  TGV Sud Est sets retired last year,  

  • and the La Poste Mail train sets which  were used until just a few years ago.

  • Next we have the mostly similar  looking TGV Reseau and Atlantique.

  • Then we have the TGV Duplex which as  you'd expect is the bilevel variant.

  • Up next is the TGV POS which takes the  Reseau style carriages and marries them  

  • with a Duplex style set of power carsthis actually came out of an order mix up.

  • And then there is the EuroDuplex which is  designed for use on lines enabled with ERTMS.

  • Truth be told though, only part of the story  can be told in France, as perhaps more than  

  • any other country France has been wildly  successful in exporting it's high speed rail  

  • technology meaning that TGV based trains  operate in countries around the world.

  • Starting with trains operating  nearby, both Thalys and Ave  

  • use stock fundamentally based on TGV models.

  • In addition NTV in Italy operates  Alstom AGV trains which have come  

  • out of the Avelia line used on the TGVthese are unique as they are multiple units,  

  • something which are not used for high  speed rail services within France.

  • Of course Eurostar previously used TGV  based trains in the British Rail Class 373,  

  • which is quite unique in that it was  equipped with third rail pickups for  

  • operation into London Waterloo, a one of  a kind feature for a high speed train.

  • Since 2015 the Eurostar has  started using Siemens Velaro EMUs,  

  • the old trains have since been renamed the E300.

  • TGV technology was also exported to Korea as  

  • mentioned in our most recent  high speed rail explained,

  • And the technology was used  jointly with Bombardier to  

  • develop the Acela trains used  on the US Northeast corridor,  

  • albeit these trains were required to  be much heavier due to FRA regulations.

  • The new Avelia Liberty trains purchased for  use on the Northeast corridor can give us a  

  • taste of what future TGV models will look likemost notably the on order Avelia Horizon sets.

  • Finally, there is the Al Boraqthe Morrocan High Speed rail  

  • service which uses TGV Euroduplex  trains at speeds of up to 320kph.

  • And TGV technology has also been  responsible for a number of records,  

  • the fastest non electric train was the early  Gas Turbine test train, and a modified TGV  

  • duplex train holds the world record for  a train travelling on conventional tracks  

  • with a top speed of 574kph Achieved.

  • With all this it's clear that France is probably  

  • the most influential country in the  Western world for high speed rail.

  • From the first high speed electric loco hauled  

  • trains, to the first high speed  services in an undersea tunnel

  • to an incredibly popular line of rolling stock  France has transformed the world through high  

  • speed rail and the future is bright. Thanks  for watching and I'll see you in the next one!

Hey folks, welcome back to the channel! Today  we have our most requested high speed rail  

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France's High Speed Rail System Explained

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    Alan posted on 2021/07/12
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