Wednesday 22 September 2021

France: UIC marks the 40th anniversary of the TGV high-speed train, celebrated in France by SNCF on 17 September

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As a technical platform, UIC has supported the development of high-speed rail networks and services on all continents for many years. Through effective cooperation between its members, UIC provides technical solutions to the issues faced by those who work every day to provide a fast, sustainable and safe mode of transport on all continents.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the TGV, French President Emmanuel Macron declared: “The 2020s will be the new decade of the TGV”, adding that “beyond the TGV, the rail journey is at the heart of the 21st century challenge”.

SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou said: “The TGV has profoundly transformed France. It has been a huge commercial success, with three billion passengers, but also an industrial success, with seven generations of TGVs and 549 trainsets ordered from French industry. High-speed rail is a sustainable mobility solution, and our mission is to promote the development of this mode of transport in France and in Europe”.

Did you know?

More than three billion passengers travel on high-speed trains each year, and high-speed rail is still being developed around the world. Since 2008, China has introduced 38,000 km of high-speed lines, and a further 15,000 km are under construction. China’s high-speed trains carry more than two billion passengers a year – more than two thirds of the global annual volume of high-speed traffic.

France has 2,375 km of high-speed lines, and is the third largest network in the world in terms of traffic (125 million passengers per year) after China and Japan.

The world record for rail speed is 574.8 km/h, recorded in 2007. This record was set on the high-speed Eastern European line and has not been beaten by anyone else since.

Other regions of the world are also proving dynamic in this area, as demonstrated by renewed interest in high-speed rail in the United States, the Middle East and Europe, development in the East and demand for new lines in countries with the world’s first high-speed connections.

There are currently almost 56,000 km of high-speed lines in operation globally. This figure will have at least doubled in 30 years’ time, with numerous projects to develop new high-speed lines underway all around the world. This entails significant challenges from a political, industrial, technological and financial point of view.

To consult the UIC Atlas on High-Speed Rail 2021, please visit

Together with China State Railway Group, Co., Ltd. (CR), UIC is organising the next UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail, to be held in Beijing from 28 June to 1 July 2022. For more information, please visit

Stay tuned!

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