On Thursday 26 July, the Board of Directors of SNCF Mobilités approved a firm order for 100 next-generation TGV trainsets at a cost of €3 billion.
The move represents a major investment, made possible by adjusting the TGV business model to win back customers, boost productivity and control production costs, and by the decision to stabilise track access fees.
The new-generation TGV was developed jointly by SNCF and Alstom. Launched in 2016, their partnership is dedicated to innovation and uses an unprecedented working method emphasising agility and collaboration. The result: a genuine breakthrough in competitiveness, with a dramatic reduction of both acquisition and operating costs. The new TGV represents a decisive step toward making rail a more attractive mobility option while revolutionising the high-speed travel experience for passengers. Great news:
+ For customers, who will enjoy more comfortable, connected TGV travel
+ For SNCF, with the trainsets a key asset in the new market that will emerge as cross-border barriers to rail operations in Europe are removed and competition opens up
+ For the rail sector as a whole, since these are the greenest high-speed trainsets in history. As such, they represent an innovative, highly exportable industrial flagship product to promote French engineering expertise in very high-speed rail
The “TGV du Futur” will offer customers an all-new high-speed travel experience:
Lowest acquisition price on the market
The challenge facing the SNCF-Alstom team was to design a TGV that would cost €25 million —compared with €30 million for the TGV Duplex — plus €1.66 million per trainset for options that improve both profitability and on-board comfort. Mission accomplished: compared with current models, lifetime ownership of the TGV du Futur will cut costs by more than 20%.
Outstanding energy efficiency and ultra-competitive carbon footprint per journey
Reduced production, maintenance and energy costs are built into the new trainsets, and thanks to green driving practices, aerodynamic design and a system that redirects braking energy to the catenary, they consume 20% less energy.
Some 97% of the materials used to make the TGV du Futur are recyclable, and use of more ecofriendly materials means that its carbon footprint is 37% smaller than that of current trainsets.
The new trains also feature modular interiors that can be adapted to passenger needs and market trends. Coaches can accommodate variable numbers of seats in spaces that can be reconfigured: operators can add luggage racks as desired or convert first-class compartments into second-class seating in just half a day.
20% more onboard space
The double-decker version of the next-generation TGV consists of two short-wheelbase power cars, increasing surface area for passengers and boosting capacity to 740 — some 20% more than current TGV duplexes.
By maximising space, the TGV du Futur reduces cost per seat, which will be the most competitive on the high-speed market.
Smart and connected
This TGV is the first high-speed train offering full connectivity, which means:
+ access to modern, connected services tailored to passenger needs, with WiFi, timetables and other information available in real time in all carriages, online booking for selected services, and more. The online network is also designed to keep pace with changing technology, incorporating new services as they emerge. For SNCF, the first priority was to provide connectivity on all lines: its focus has now shifted to improving connection quality.
+ real-time transmission of data using sensors to relay information on trainset components for greater reliability, more comfort and better preventive maintenance.
Ultra-comfortable design improves the passenger experience
The design of the new TGV du Futur is 100% focussed on customers and their needs:
+ Modern interiors and contemporary materials for a warmer atmosphere.
+ Larger windows — 37 cm longer in passenger seating areas, with 10% more glass in total, and a modular lighting system that adjusts for arrivals and departures, for morning and evening light, and more.
+ Entirely redesigned air conditioning — smarter, with more accurate controls for greater comfort as airflows move through ceiling vents rather than openings at armrest level.
+ Researchers are still working to reduce noise pollution with better insulation.
Accessible for all
This marks the first time that TGV designers have worked with wheelchair users throughout the design process. The results go well beyond legal requirements: wheelchair users can access seating and move around the train independently thanks to a rotating and lifting platform. Toilets have also been totally redesigned.
Focussing on the customer
The team relied on a virtual reality system to bring customers on board from the start. Participants included:
+ frequent TGV travellers (through the CmonTGV community)
+ associations representing passengers with special needs, such as improved onboard accessibility for wheelchair users
+ students — our future customers — are taking a new approach to rail travel, presenting new challenges for the future
SNCF incorporated all such users’ opinions and needs into the design for the new TGV and will continue to do so as it enters the next phases of detailed design.
“This new TGV is the standard-bearer for French high-speed rail. And what a feat: a technological breakthrough that meets all our goals for industrial performance, and a source of pride that has generated an enthusiastic response from everyone who has worked on it. Above all — and of this I’m sure — it’s a train that meets customer expectations, offering yet another reason to say OUI to more and more high-speed rail travel.” Rachel Picard – Managing Director, Voyages SNCF
SERVICE TO START UP IN UNDER FIVE YEARS
By signing the contract today, the SNCF Mobilités Board of Directors marked the end of Phase 1 of the SNCF-Alstom partnership, which focussed on testing concept feasibility. Enter Phase 2, starting now and set to last just over four years, focussing on detailed design, scaling up production and certifying trainsets. The final phase — Phase 3 — will cover trainset production and commercial rollout.
Delivery is expected to run from 2023 to 2033. The new trainsets will operate throughout France.