SNCF unveils its new generation of TGV, which is due to enter service in 2025

A train with a sober aesthetic, dressed all in white, as opposed to the flashy orange of the first models: SNCF Voyageurs presented, Monday April 29, the design of the future TGV M trains (“M” for modularity), This “train of the future” expected for the second half of 2025.

“It really has a face, this train”exclaimed Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, unveiling this new aesthetic in Belfort, where Alstom is manufacturing the engines of this new machine, impatiently awaited by the SNCF to respond to the increase in travel demand. “This TGV M is [l’]strategic asset » of the SNCF, while the trains are filling up more and more quickly due to lack of supply, insisted Mr. Fanichet. They must also allow the SNCF to“face the competition on our tracks in France”he added.

The choice of light color for this new generation of TGV responds to the imperatives of climate change, underlined Mr. Fanichet, since it “allows the air conditioning to be reduced in the event of high heat”. “Orange was the symbol of technological prowess and performance. White is the harmonization between the train and the landscape”sketched the boss of the railway company.

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Production of one train per month in 2027

An employee works on SNCF's new generation TGV M (modular) at the Alstom factory in Belfort, eastern France, April 29, 2024.

The public railway group spent 3.5 billion euros to buy 115 trainsets of this train, which has more seats and is less energy intensive than current TGVs. A few trainsets will be delivered in 2025 and 2026, then at the rate of twelve per year from 2027.

In the Alstom workshops in Belfort, around eight hundred employees manufacture power cars at the rate of one every four months. The construction of all the power trains should take around ten years, according to Alstom, which is already a year late: the first trains were expected for the Olympic Games. The first trains will be launched on the south-east axis, where competition has already established itself with Trenitalia, but also the imminent arrival of the Spanish Renfe.

Orange in the 1980s, then silver gray before becoming gray and blue on the Atlantic axis or even white, gray and red for the current TGV InOui, the new TGV will be almost all white, with touches of red for the logo and the doors, in order to recall the aesthetics of InOui.

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“More trains, more passengers and therefore lower prices”

“There is a desire to stand in time, to draw a clear line in the landscape”explained TGV design director, Isabelle Le Saux. “On a small regional train it might have been more colorful but it’s not the same spirit”, added the chief designer. She promises, the interior will be more colorful than in current trains. It will not be revealed until the end of the year.

This is the fifth series of TGVs ordered by the SNCF since the beginning of the 1980s, but “for me, it’s the most innovative train since the first series” put into service in 1981, underlined the boss of the TGV, Alain Krakovitch.

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“What will change is the place. We will have 20% more seats with the same length, but also more space per customer”, he added, emphasizing the adaptable aspect of the train. The TGV M will be able to accommodate up to 720 passengers – compared to 560 currently – and “when we have the 115 trains, it will allow more trains to run, with more passengers and therefore with lower prices”he wants to believe.

“We will have a bar or we will not have a bar, we will have spaces for bicycles like we have never had, 16 places on a double train. We will be able to modulate the train according to the markets, according to the customers”enthused Mr. Krakovitch.

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The World with AFP

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