On September 9th, France‘s railway company SNCF and train manufacturer Alstom unveiled the first completed TGV M, which has benefited from the know-how of the best experts at Alstom and the Rolling Stock and TGV-Intercités divisions of SNCF Voyageurs. The TGV M is expected to run on France’s national network from 2024.
According to CNN, the state-owned French railway company SNCF which controls TGV ordered 100 TGV M trains in (also known as Avelia Horizon trains) in 2018 at a cost of 2.7 billion euros (around $2.7 billion). An additional 15 trains were ordered in August 2022. The majority of the trains will operate within France, but Alstom has said 15 will ride the rails internationally.
The next major step will be the dynamic test phase at 200 km/h in Velim (Czech Republic) by the end of 2022. This opens the first chapter in a long period of testing for the high-speed train.
Investments of nearly 50 million euros have been made in new production lines ensuring industrial efficiency and the simplification of assemblies in order to make the solution competitive.
The high-speed double-decker train has more aerodynamic design and is modular, which makes it possible to adjust the number of cars as closely as possible to the market’s needs (7, 8 or 9), to quickly transform a 1st class space into a 2nd class space and vice versa, to reconfigure the interior by removing or adding seats, bicycle or luggage spaces, etc.
It has a 20% increase in on-board space, i.e. a possible offer of up to 740 seats compared to the current maximum of 634. The TGV M’s carbon footprint is the lowest on the market and 97% of the train’s components are recyclable. With a 32% reduction in CO2 emissions, the TGV M is fully in line with the SNCF Group’s environmental commitments, as set out in the SNCF Voyageurs “Planète Voyages” program, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of all its activities.
The train will offer access to evolving connected services that meet passengers’ needs, such as on-board Wi-Fi, as well as complete information in real time in the various areas of the train. It features a highly “communicating” train set whose sensors continuously transmit thousands of pieces of data enabling the train to be examined in real time from every angle to optimize maintenance and availability.
A detailed analysis of the compatibility of the TGV M with the network and stations is being carried out throughout France. It consists of ensuring that the new train is properly registered at all points on the network and in all stations. This analysis is used to identify the adaptation work that needs to be carried out, the procedures that need to be modified and the changes that need to be made in terms of passenger flow management.
The surveys already carried out in nearly 70 stations show the need to move stop signs to make it easier for drivers to see the signals when the trains are on the platform. This is linked to the nose of the TGV, which has been lengthened to make it more aerodynamic.
A vast project is underway on digital and information systems. This is important because the TGV M is hyper-connected and customers’ uses are increasingly oriented towards digital systems. It consists of proposing and implementing appropriate digital solutions and supports to meet customer needs and improve efficiency in all areas.
Attendants will have an application that tells them in real time the operating status of all the elements that contribute to the comfort of customers. The WIFI architecture on board the train will comply with the latest 5G standard, to deliver a high quality service. And various digital applications will be developed in particular to optimize traction energy consumption, by adapting driving instructions in real time to the speed of the train and the profile of the route.
The comfort of the seats will be tested by a representative sample of people in order to gather their feelings and make adjustments if necessary. The car dedicated to people in wheelchairs has several innovations. Work is continuing with the associations to finalize the technical adjustments and the choice of signage. Attendants and maintenance teams are also involved in this process, in order to identify changes in the way they work. The bar car has been completely redesigned.
Ten of the sixteen Alstom sites in France are involved in the design of the new train: Belfort for the locomotives, La Rochelle for the carriages (studies, industrialization, purchasing, manufacturing and testing of passenger carriages), logistical and service support, and project management; Villeurbanne for the computerized control and command system, passenger information and on-board equipment; Ornans for the engines; Le Creusot for the bogies; Tarbes for traction; Toulouse (COE electrical) for the electrical circuits; Petit Quevilly for the transformers; Saint-Ouen for design, signalling, and Valenciennes for the study of the interior design elements