Map of French TGV traces in use and underneath building

(Notice: References nonetheless being formatted)

The Practice à Grande Vitesse, or TGV, which suggests Excessive-Velocity Practice in English, is the French title for his or her high-speed rail (HSR) service in France. First connecting Paris to Lyon in 1981, the TGV was the primary large-scale builder of HSR service in Europe, second on the planet solely to Japan’s Shinkansen. At this time, the TGV community in France includes almost 2100 kilometers of monitor, with many extra deliberate over the following few a long time.


Excessive-speed rail as we regard it at present was first developed by Japan within the building of their Shinkansen community. The Shinkansen utilized a separate rail infrastructure completely constructed for high-speed passenger service. This was executed partially to offer the best security to the trains and passengers and maximize effectivity. The 515-kilometer hyperlink from Tokyo to Osaka was designed to be flat and straight, which required many tunnels, bridges, and elevated part. This design method led to important value overruns – double the unique estimate – for the primary Shinkansen line.[1]

The trains developed for the Shinkansen have been designed to be lighter and fewer liable to crash than their standard counterparts. The light-weight nature of the trains decreased vitality consumption and put on of the rails, thereby decreasing working and upkeep bills. Electrical overhead energy supplied the flexibility for trains to speed up and decelerate shortly. An analogous design method was utilized within the improvement of the TGV.

Many benefits exist between the TGV and different modes of journey. The TGV offers arguably the best choice for medium distance journey between main European cities, beating out the automotive by way of journey time, and aggressive with airways by way of journey time and ease of accessibility. Its success has proven over time that its pace and connectivity between main city facilities has made it a big participant in enterprise and leisure journey. Moreover, vitality consumption on the TGV is significantly decrease than utilizing a automotive or flying, which reduces working bills referring to journey. Since most of the high-demand, low-investment routes have already been constructed in France, enlargement of the rail community is changing into more and more troublesome to justify. Nonetheless, because the European Union makes an attempt to elicit better connection and competitors between HSR service in several international locations, the expansion of the French community could proceed for a few years forward.

Earlier than the TGV[edit]

Current modes[edit]

Previous to the event of the TGV community, three fundamental choices existed for these wishing to journey throughout France: standard rail journey, car, and air journey. As the primary TGV line opened was the 470-km Paris to Lyon route, this doc will ceaselessly on this hyperlink to match completely different journey modes.

Standard rail and the auto each supplied related journey instances previous to 1981. The drive between Paris and Lyon takes roughly Four hours 30 minutes, in comparison with Four hours by standard passenger rail. The benefits of the practice included a modest time financial savings and freedom to have interaction in different actions. Extremely-taxed petrol in Europe could deter folks from driving, along with difficulties driving and parking in central space, however auto use supplied better flexibility and flexibility in delivering travellers immediately from their origin to their vacation spot. Vacationers selecting to fly might journey between the cities in solely 75 minutes (excluding airport journey time and safety). With these mode choices, standard rail competed extra carefully with the auto, and high-speed journey was restricted to air journey.

Limitations of present modes[edit]

There have been rising limitations with every mode within the run-up to the TGV. Auto congestion is a typical downside of most main metropolitan areas. Moreover, auto journey is normally restricted for journeys as much as 200 km earlier than different modes are thought of. The standard passenger rail service between Paris-Lyon route was at or close to most capability, and the service and infrastructure weren’t well-regarded [1]. The quite a few flights between short-haul markets compounded congestion in airports for lengthy and short-haul flights alike. Moreover, because the two airports are usually not centrally positioned, and are usually not sometimes a vacation spot in themselves, touring by automotive or practice is frequent amongst air vacationers, notably for these touring to smaller cities and cities outdoors Paris and Lyon. Finally, better capability was wanted to ship passengers between the 2 cities, and to locations past. [1]

New prospects[edit]

The event of the HSR community has been part of the French Authorities’s efforts to modernize the rail community since WWII. This objective was impressed largely by the success of Japan’s Shinkansen line. In 1976, France’s nationally owned rail firm SNCF launched their grasp plans, Objectif 2000, with a Paris-Lyon hyperlink being the primary line to open.
The event of the practice borrowed closely from the Shinkhansen, with enhancements targeted on offering a practice able to being quick, protected, and dependable. Making the practice light-weight was important to offering a excessive energy to weight ratio, which is essential in delivering high-speed service. Stability was essential as properly from a security and luxury perspective. Rails on unique TGV tracks are rigorously joined to remove the rhythmic gallop typical of trains. Trains at present are in a position to journey at speeds of 320 km/h with out making a glass of wine wobble. [2]

By implementing a staggered method to community improvement, France realized from Japan’s monetary troubles in creating a solely unique railway community. The TGV between Paris and Lyon was opened incrementally alongside present, however upgraded, rail infrastructure, and ultimately on unique rail infrastructure. By avoiding the necessity to construct a very separate rail infrastructure, France averted a few of the preliminary capital investments that Japan confronted within the improvement of their separate HSR alignment. France’s choice to initially combine their high-speed system with present rail infrastructure differs from different international locations apart from Japan. In Spain, new HSR infrastructure is being constructed to straightforward gauge monitor, whereas older standard monitor was constructed at a non-standard gauge. This combined gauge monitor points has been resolved, however solely with the event in recent times of gauge-changing expertise. In Germany, their high-speed, standard, and freight trains are all absolutely combined within the system, that means all trains are in a position to make use of the identical monitor [hs2] which can create better potential for delays and congestion.

France would in the end construct rail infrastructure completely for the TGV trains. Nonetheless, whereas Japan designed a flat, straight monitor between Tokyo and Osaka, SNCF realized that with quick, light-weight, high-powered trains, they might truly construct rail at grades in extra of these sometimes allowed on heavy standard rail. The development of separate HSR infrastructure might then be constructed to extra carefully observe the topography of the land, considerably decreasing earthwork prices. Because of this, capital rail enhancements for TGV traces are sometimes among the many lowest on the planet. [hs2]

The pricing construction that SNCF adopted was based mostly on a demand-based mannequin. The TGV adopted the yield administration system adopted by airways that diverse costs based mostly on the demand of a specific practice based mostly on its departure time and vacation spot, and was the primary rail firm in Europe to take action. Implementing this profit-maximizing coverage for the TGV from the start was important to its success, and would have been harder to implement in a while. [mr]

TGV Sud-Est – Connecting Paris and Lyon[edit]

The TGV Sud-Est from Paris to Lyon was determined upon because the inaugural route for the TGV. The primary part of the road opened in 1981, and the second part opened in 1983. Funding was made initially the place it was most vastly wanted, and would supply the best influence. Because the rail community and trains have been state-owned, this vertically built-in construction made it simpler to offer the funds essential to develop the community. The congested route between Paris and Lyon was the clear selection, because it served 40% of the French inhabitants. The preliminary goal of the TGV was to draw enterprise and leisure vacationers trying which may short-haul flight. It additionally offers time financial savings and improved connectivity for present rail vacationers. The modest improve in time to take the TGV was thought of palatable since many vacationers might join to traditional or metro practice service from the practice station, as a substitute of switching modes on the airport on the sting of city.

Moreover, the vitality financial savings supplied by HSR have been important. Whereas journey by airplane equates to the equal of seven.1 liters of diesel gas for each 100 passenger-kilometers, and three.Three liters for auto journey, the TGV solely makes use of solely 0.7 liters of gas over the identical distance. Along with the vitality and related value financial savings, the discount in vitality consumption (along with the truth that the TGV operated on electrical energy through overhead wires), meant that the results of air air pollution from autos and planes is perhaps considerably decreased.

Deployment of HSR infrastructure alongside this hall made rail journey extra comparable with air journey than with automotive journey. The journey time between Paris and Lyon on the TGV Sud-Est line was initially decreased from almost Four hours (227 minutes) to 2.5 hours (160 minutes). Additional upgrades to the system have introduced the journey time all the way down to underneath 2 hours (115 minutes). [hs2]. Earlier than 1981, modal share for journeys between Paris and Lyon have been 31% by air, 40% by practice, and 29% by automotive or bus. After 1984, solely 7% journey by air, 72% journey by practice, and 21% journey by automotive. TGV now has a 90% share in high-speed service between the 2 cities, and air journey’s mode share has declined by over 75%, and cars by almost 30%. Deployment of HSR infrastructure has shifted rail journey to be extra comparable with air journey than with automotive journey. It’s clear that the TGV made important impacts on they approach folks journey between these two cities, the best influence being in mode shift to TGV from the air journey market [hs2]

Modal Share Amongst All Modes – Earlier than and After TGV Sud-Est Opening Between Paris and Lyon

Mode Earlier than 1981 After 1984 Change
Air 31% 7% -77%
Practice 40% 72% +80%
Automotive/Bus 29% 21% -28%

Modal Share Amongst Excessive-Velocity Service – Earlier than and After TGV Sud-Est Opening Between Paris and Lyon

Mode Earlier than 1981 After 1984
Air 100% 10%
Practice 0% 90%

The TGV Community Expands[edit]

The Sud-Est line was a significant success for SNCF, and the TGV community continued to broaden all through France all through the 1980s by way of the 2000s. The community expanded to Calais within the north, Marseilles within the south, Bordeaux within the southwest, and Strasbourg to the east. By 2010, almost thirty years after the primary TGV line, France had constructed or upgraded rail traces throughout 1600 km of France, connecting most of the main cities. The relative low value of building of the TGV traces has made the networks fast development doable.

The enlargement of the TGV community to the far reaches of the nation present alternatives for worldwide connections. The connection to Calais supplied an eventual connection to London through the Channel Tunnel, and connections to the northeast towards Brussels and Amsterdam. The unique Sud-Est line has expanded towards Marseilles, and continues on to the Spanish border, the place TGV service will quickly proceed uninterrupted to Barcelona. The Haut-Bugey connection, accomplished in 2010, offers a shortcut for TGV service between Paris and Geneva, and the TGV Est line to Strasbourg will present service to Germany.

Chronology of TGV Community Improvement

Line From To Open Yr Distance (km) Cumulative Distance (km)
TGV Sud Est – Section 1 Lyon Paris 1981 275 417
TGV Sud Est – Section 2 Lyon Paris 1983 142 142
TGV Atlantique – Section 1 Paris LeMans 1989 170 312
TGV Atlantique – Section 2 Paris Excursions 1990 101 413
Rhone-Alpes Lyon Grenay 1992 37 450
TGV Nord Europe Paris Calais 1993 333 783
TGV Paris Interconnections Paris Paris 1994 87 870
Rhone-Alpes Grenay Valence 1994 84 954
TGV Paris Interconnections Paris Paris 1996 17 971
SNCF LGV Mediterranee Valence Marseilles/Nimes 2001 259 1230
SNCF LGV Est Paris Baudrecourt 2007 332 1562
SNCF – Haut-Bugey Paris Geneva 2010 65 1627
SNCF Perpignan Spain Border 2011 24 1651
SNCF – Rhin-Rhone Est Section 1 Dijon Mulhouse 2011 140 1791
SNCF LGV Est Baudrecourt Vendenheim 2016 106 1897
SNCF Nimes Montpellier 2016 70 1967
SNCF Montpellier Perpignan 2021 152 2119

For cross-border journey, practice operators have been created by a number of state-owned practice firms to offer service between worldwide locations. Thalys Worldwide is one firm that was created to offer high-speed passenger rail companies between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Cologne. Capital possession of the corporate is split amongst SNCF (France), 28% held by the SNCB (Belgium) and 10% held by the DB (Germany). [Thalys]

Eurostar is an analogous consortium that gives industrial passenger service between London, Paris, and Brussels. It’s operated by a consortium of private and non-private firms within the UK, France, and Belgium. Eurostar turned Eurostar Worldwide with its transition from a three way partnership between the UK, France, and Belgium to a single company entity. [12] [6]

Technological enhancements have continued because the TGV first started in 1981. In 1996, TGV unveiled its first double-decker practice, which considerably elevated capability (and income) alongside routes that have been changing into more and more congested. Moreover, French trains are frequently striving to offer quicker service, and have damaged rail pace information on quite a few events. Most lately, a modified TGV practice set a brand new report by reaching a prime pace of 574.Eight km/h in 2007.

Coverage adjustments started going down within the mid-to-late 1990s with the European Union forcing many state-owned rail firms to separate their rail possession division from their trains operations. In 1997, France broke up SNCF, which managed each the rail infrastructure and the rolling inventory, and created the Réseau Ferré de France (RFF), or the French Railway Community. The RFF was break up from SNCF, now merely the practice operator, and inherited its debt, so as to make SNCF operationally worthwhile when practice companies are opened to privatization. RFF stays a state-owned firm, and owns, maintains, and upgrades the rail community all through France. [13]

TGV Approaches Maturity[edit]

Results of a rising HSR community[edit]

Because the TGV and European HSR community expands, it has had important results on air service between cities served by HSR. In accordance with SNCF, the purpose at which extra vacationers select air over HSR is at a practice journey time of 4.5 hours [mr]. Given the density of the final inhabitants and huge cities all through western Europe, this has had important influence on quick haul air journey throughout Europe. At distances better than 800 km (or about 3.5 hours journey time by practice), air journey begins to tackle a majority of the modal share based mostly on present most journey speeds by HSR at present. However practice journey instances of two.5 hours or much less present HSR capturing over 80% of the high-speed journey market. [Werner Rothengatter] The appearance of HSR in Europe has definitely been detrimental to the airline trade by way of market share. Nonetheless, whereas HSR has been profitable within the short-haul, high-speed markets, there are geographical limitations to the extent of a viable HSR community in Europe.

In France, figuring out the utmost extent of a high-speed rail community size could also be useful for estimating the utmost viable measurement of the community. As mentioned above, the TGV was first deployed between Paris and Lyon. The TGV Sud-Est line supplied high-speed entry for 40% of the French inhabitants between the 2 largest cities within the nation. It was an apparent selection, and maybe unsurprisingly, fairly profitable. Whereas the French authorities has important leverage to fund the costly capital investments to infrastructure and rolling inventory, as passenger service shifts from SNCF to different carriers with the privatization of the practice techniques, better consideration can be paid to the return on funding of future service enlargement. [hs2] Because the community continues to develop, and the community branches out to extra distant or much less populated areas, or traverses harder terrain, subsequent enlargement of the system could grow to be troublesome to justify. Definitely, there’s a restrict to the size of economically viable traces that may serve the French countryside.

The TGV community in France in nonetheless rising, and has not but reached maturity, due to this fact, it’s only doable to estimate the utmost worth of HSR traces in France. The chart under exhibits quite a lot of doable situations for the utmost extent of cumulative monitor mileage in France, based mostly on almost 40 years of accomplished and deliberate improvement of TGV traces. Desk 1 exhibits a timeline of TGV improvement from 1981 to future traces deliberate into 2021. By 2021, there can be roughly 2100 kilometers of excessive pace rail all through France. Some estimates counsel that the community could attain 3500 kilometers in whole.

Figuring out the utmost extent of HSR in France[edit]

What’s an inexpensive assumption for the utmost extent of rail on the TGV community? Most applied sciences observe an analogous sample of development and decline, characterised by an “S-Curve”. This S curve could be represented by the equation

The place:

S(t) is the estimated cumulative monitor size at time t (in years);
to is the inflection level at which ½ Okay is achieved;
Okay is the saturation stage of cumulative monitor size, in kilometers
b is a coefficient that impacts the steepness of the curve throughout time, t.

The info gathered for monitor size was analyzed utilizing information evaluation software program in Microsoft Excel 2011. The outcomes of the information are proven under.

Saturation Degree Of France’s TGV Community
Okay 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500
b 0.114 0.089 0.079 0.073 0.070
to 1998.82 2003.98 2008.26 2011.92 2015.12
t-stat 37.8 30.5 25.8 23.6 22.3
R2 0.973 0.960 0.945 0.935 0.927

The outcomes present that values ranging anyplace between 2,500 and 4,500 kilometers (and probably increased) are doable for max Okay values, based mostly on the energy of the R-squared and t-stat numbers. These numbers are highest for Okay = 2,500 km. Nonetheless, plans by the French authorities plans for as much as 4,600 km of whole monitor within the years forward [BBC news article]. Primarily based on the energy of the outcomes from the regression evaluation, the long run saturation restrict of HSR in France is troublesome to foretell based mostly within the chronology of previous building.

The way forward for HSR in France and Europe[edit]

Analyzing the long run results of privatization and funding in future HSR service in France is troublesome, notably throughout the present world monetary disaster, and the excessive volatility in oil costs across the globe. Finally, the success of TGV over time could present France a aggressive edge because the HSR community expands all through Europe, and HSR companies turns into privatized, that means TGV companies can enter markets outdoors of France.

As markets divulge heart’s contents to competitors, the taking part in area round HSR is certain to get extra attention-grabbing. The consortium of state-owned operators like Eurostar and Thalys could quickly need to function alongside different service suppliers, together with new entrants to the market. With the decline of short-haul air journey, airways like Air France have thought of getting into the HSR market, with one ticket providing connecting service between air and rail. On this state of affairs, rail and air journey could grow to be as a lot complementary modes as they do aggressive modes. [Spiegel]

Within the curiosity of enhancing the operations and administration of HSR throughout borders, the 7 HSR suppliers in Europe have shaped a advertising and marketing alliance referred to as Railteam. These firms embody SNCF (France), Eurostar UK, DB (Germany), OBB (Austria), SBB (Switzerland), NS Hispeed (Netherlands), and SNCB (Belgium). This alliance is much like partnerships between airways by way of advertising and marketing and gross sales, similar to KLM and Delta. Excessive-speed rail operators sought to create a reserving system that will permit travellers to buy tickets throughout a number of suppliers, and obtain a comparable stage of service, no matter which practice they traveled on. These efforts have been deserted in late 2009, when it was decided that the insurance policies of every particular person service supplier have been too troublesome and costly to convey collectively.One of many fundamental targets on this alliance was not essentially to develop or broaden upon the bodily expertise of HSR, however to develop a single Europe-wide reserving system to enhance effectivity. This service would make it doable to ebook journey anyplace throughout Europe with a single ticket, rather than separate transactions required for worldwide journey (with exceptions for journey on Thalys or Eurostar traces). As a consequence of growing prices and complexities of making this technique, the mission was scrapped in 2009. [BBC 2009]

Making an attempt to bridge variations in pricing and repair coverage between particular person international locations has made offering joint service troublesome. Within the close to future, Deutsche-Bahn trains will quickly journey on the TGV Est line linking Frankfurt and Paris. Nonetheless, clients and employees in every nation are accustomed to how their respective techniques function. Whereas France makes use of a demand-based pricing system with required reservations, Germany makes use of a fixed-price system, and reservations are usually not required. These variations have confirmed troublesome for the 2 events to resolve. Moreover, labor guidelines differ between the 2 international locations additional complicate issues between the separate operators. Whereas a whole settlement has but to take form, SNCF and DB are working to bridge these gaps incrementally over time. [mr]

Because the HSR rail system grows all through Europe, technological advances will proceed to enhance the standard of service supplied on the rail infrastructure itself. With the HSR market being opened as much as competitors by way of privatization, innovation will additional develop the community over time.


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