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The story of
French rail

From its beginnings in 1827, the French rail industry has been driven by colourful personalities, cultural revolutions and ingenious solutions to technological challenges. Learn more about the history of French rail and the people behind it.



  1. ...
  2. 2001
  3. 2007
  4. 2011
  5. 2012
  6. 2013
  7.  

2007

THE PRIDE OF FRENCH RAIL: 574.8 KM/H

At 1.13 p.m. on 3 April 2007, TGV No. V150 set a new world record for rail speed, reaching the incredible speed of 574.8 km/h as it blazed through the town of Éclaires, France on the Est-Européen line. The V150 consisted of two Est-Européen TGV powerheads with three TGV Duplex coaches in between.



At 270 tonnes and 107 m, the train features eight driving axles, a rating of 18 MW, and a distinctive exterior livery. Its coating, which must also withstand the stresses of very high speeds, depicts a stream of chrome—“like liquid metal moving through space”— symbolizing the genius, the inspiration and the labour of the human beings who designed this magnificent machine.
Three companies worked together to achieve the 2007 speed record: SNCF, Alstom and Réseau Ferré de France.


2011

140-KM TGV LINE LINKS RHINE TO RHONE

On Sunday, 11 December 2011, France’s seventh high-speed line began operations. The new Rhine-Rhone TGV line benefits two major traffic flows, reducing travel time and streamlining service between Paris, Franche-Comté, southern Alsace and Switzerland.


The Rhine-Rhone line has also created high-speed links between the Strasbourg and Lyon regions, and between Germany and France.
The 140-km line links Villers-les-Pots, east of Dijon, to Petit-Croix, east of Belfort, and features two new stations: Besançon Franche-Comté TGV and Belfort-Montbéliard TGV.
Operating speed is 320 km/h, and the line is served by new Euroduplex TGVs, manufactured by Alstom for international service. One TGV provides daily service from Frankfurt to Marseille via Mulhouse, France.


2012

RAIL COMMUNITY CELEBRATES SNCF’S 75TH BIRTHDAY

On 30 October, the entire rail community joined SNCF to celebrate its 75th birthday. Rail workers, builders, investors, journalists, and French rail network owner Réseau Ferré de France gathered in Paris at Halle Freyssinet, specially decorated for the event. In all, nearly 3,500 guests participated in the festivities, which included remarks by French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier.

75th birthday highlights



2013

2 BILLION TGV PASSENGERS

25 January: SNCF reaches a new milestone as the number of high-speed rail passengers carried hits the 2 billion mark.

 


We displayed the countdown on a giant screen at Paris Gare de Lyon station and celebrated the occasion in 17 stations around France, compiling a giant photo album featuring thousands of passenger portraits.

It took us 22 years—from 1981 to 2003—to carry our first billion high-speed rail passengers, but only ten more to double that.