On 24 September celebrations were held in Paris to mark the 30th anniversary of the TGV. The inaugural TGV service began operation between Paris and Lyon in 1981, at a line speed of 271 km/h. France’s efforts in high speed rail had begun on 28 March 1955 between Bordeaux and Morcenx: the CC 7107 and BB 9004 locomotives achieved a speed of 331 km/h, setting the first world record. This performance paved the way for the launch of the TGV in the 1960s. Following the opening of the first TGV line in 1981, the TGV has continued to increase in speed and set a new world speed record on the TGV-Est high speed line in 2007, reaching 574.8 km/h. The TGV has also, however, developed in areas other than speed. Its network is constantly expanding, simplifying travel within France. Strasbourg is only 2 hours 20 minutes from Paris, while Marseille is 3 hours. The TGV has also enjoyed a designer touch ever since Christian Lacroix refurbished 105 TGV Atlantique and 78 TGV Réseau trainset interiors in 2005.
On 24 September a number of activities were organised in Paris Gare de Lyon railway station to mark the occasion. This day was notably the final stage of the journey made by the “TGV Experience” train, which had been touring France for three and a half months this summer, stopping at 15 towns. The tour gave visitors a chance to see the TGV from the inside and learn about the railway business through talking to professionals. The visitors also found out about the TGV’s new colourful design which will gradually be applied to the whole of the fleet.
Comprising four rail cars, the “TGV Experience” train offered Parisian visitors and a total of over 70,000 other visitors across France a hands-on, multi-stage voyage of discovery into the world of the TGV. During the tour, 12,000 people visited the TGV driver’s cab. A competition entitled “30 years of TGV” – during which participants were asked to tell their favourite TGV story – as well as live concerts, were also organised in Paris Gare de Lyon railway station.
It is worth mentioning that since its inauguration in September 1981, the TGV has carried 1.8 billion passengers with virtually no fatal accidents.