TGV is France's train à grande vitesse; literally "high-speed train". Developed and operated by SNCF, the French national railway company, it connects Paris to cities in France and in some other neighbouring countries, such as the United Kingdom and Belgium.
The TGV is one of the fastest commercially operating conventional trains in the world. Under test conditions, the TGV has reached speeds of 515.3 km/h, setting a world record in 1990. In commercial service, the TGV operates at the top speed of 300 km/h.
- Built by Alstom's Transport Sector
- Current high-speed network runs to Marseille, Tours, Brussels and the Channel tunnel.
- Extensions to the network of high-speed lines: Turin; London; Perpignan and thence Spain; Strasbourg; Amsterdam, Cologne (the Thalys network)
- Start of the project in the 1960s
- Impact of French society: towns such as Chartres are becoming "TGV commuter belt"; Brussels - Paris in 90 minutes has increased commuting between the two capitals; likewise the Paris - Marseille line greatly reduced travel time recently
- Impact of the building of the lines: many years of wrangles over the Lyon-Marseille line