France’s high-speed trains get a makeover

To travel

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks in front of a full-size replica of the next high-speed train, TGV, in Paris. Photo / AP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday unveiled a mock-up of the next generation of greener very high-speed trains known in France as TGV – four decades after the launch of the first TGV.

During a presentation at the Gare de Lyon in Paris, Macron highlighted the ecological aspect of the new train.

“This decade for the TGV will be one of innovation,” he said, adding that France must “meet the challenge of moving around by emitting less and promoting new forms of energy”.

Macron spoke in front of a full-size mock-up of the new TGV M. It will carry more passengers – 740 compared to 600 for the current train – and is expected to enter service in 2024. It will also consume a fifth of electricity less than the train current. model, while maintaining its top speed of 320 km / h.

The ceremony took place 40 years after another French president, François Mitterrand, launched his bold new bet in technology at the same station – the first TGV, or Train a Grande Vitesse (very fast train).

With a line speed of over 270 km / h, according to the French railway company SNCF, this train has changed the face of modern train travel. It has since been emulated around the world, including in the much anticipated British project HS2.

Macron’s government has pledged 6.5 billion euros (NZ $ 10.8 billion) in new investment this year to expand high-speed train lines, and the increase in train use makes part of his government’s strategy to reduce emissions.

Return of the rail passenger

Rail companies are starting to recoup intercity travel in Europe from low cost carriers.

At the end of this month, FirstGroup is launching a direct London-Edinburgh service specifically targeting low-cost air links between the two capitals.

With fares starting at £ 30 ($ 58), a constraint on green credentials, plant-based catering and carbon emissions per passenger, Lumo hopes to attract a climate-conscious and budget-conscious traveler.

“Traveling to the UK shouldn’t cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet paying. No matter what mode of transport you prefer, we are likely to be more affordable and more environmentally friendly,” said the manager. General Helen Wylde at The Guardian.

– Associated Press with additional reporting

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