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The TGV Story
By John McKey, Pictures by John McKey, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, Richard Oed, Pekka Siiskonen and Focalplane.

Welcome to the future TGV Story page! For the moment, only the 4 - 5 first articles are in place, but more material will be added regularly and often.

Page 1
  Part 1: Pre TGV Era of the 20th Century...
 Part 2: Testing with Turbine Powered TGV...
 Part 3: First High Speed Line Paris - Lyon...
 Part 4: Great Success of the Generation 1 TGV-PSE...
 Part 5: TGV-PSE Today and Tomorrow...
 Part 6: TGV-LaPoste - the High Speed Postal Sets...

Page 2
 Part 7: TGV-Atlantique and LGV-Atlantique...
 Part 8: TGV-Réseau, a common model for all networks...
 Part 9: Thalys emerging...
 Part 10: Renfe AVE 100...
 Part 11: Eurostar Capitals units...
 Part 12: Regional Eurostar units...

Page 3
 Part 13: TGV-Duplex, first double decked TGV type...
 Part 14: Thalys PBKA of Benelux + Germany...
 Part 15: TGV-Iris, track inspection at 320 km/h / 199 mph...
 Part 16: TGV-V150 Running for Speed Record...
 Part 17: TGV-POS "Race Cars" Running on LGV-Est...
 Part 18: TGV-Hybrid / TGV-RéseauDuplex...

 Part 19: TGV-Dasye Double Deckers...




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 Part 13: TGV-Duplex, the first double decked TGV type
SNCF TGV-Duplex unit 281 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

The next evolutionary step for the popular line of TGVs came in 1995 in the new form of the TGV-Duplex train. The power cars were now rounded and the driver positioned in the center of a single windscreen with a very good visibility to track. At the same time crashworthiness was enhanced, though this had never been a bigger issue even on the earlier TGVs which had protected their personnel and passengers in all accident quite well. The locomotives still used good and tried synchronous AC drive. The trailer section was completely redesigned, now to two levels. This was acquired without adding axle weight over the desired 18 tons. What an ingenious move from the manufacturer Alstom and the customer SNCF: the cost per kilometre / mile per seat was almost halved! As TGV-Duplex was an evolutionary step, it still equips all the ingenious features of the earlier versions, featuring articulations and very comfortable riding bogies, aluminum bodies and excellent sound insulation.

SNCF TGV-Duplex 224 loco side, Paris Gare de Lyon, France

With the arrival of the TGV-Duplex the already crowded LGV-PSE between Paris and Lyon got more time before capacity on it was to saturate. The same discussion on the second line building was ongoing even 15 years ago...
Add two TGV-Duplex units and you could easily transport over 1000 people at once, at the super high speed of 320 km/h / 199 mph. Using two unit configurations and other single story TGVs (combining with TGV-Réseau is very common even today)
you have basically 4 different capacity and many power options to match the needs. Of course it does not cost any more to run the double decked unit than a single level one. This has led by by now to the fact that all new TGVs are double decked.

SNCF TGV-Duplex 224, Paris Gare de Lyon, France

TGV-Duplex is besides the TGV-Réseau another type that is very easy to spot because it is so commonly seen in traffic. You can recognize it from two features:
1) Blue and silver (with broad blue side band being used for the first time) double decked TGV train.
2) End locomotives carry their larger numbers in 200 series: 201 - 289 (+ unnumbered spare locomotive).
A very common mistake is to call all TGV-Duplex, TGV-Dasye, TGV-Hybrid and TGV-2N2 trains for TGV-Duplex, when these are in fact 4 quite separate types (to be discussed later in detail).

The use of the 89 unit TGV-Duplex fleet concentrates mostly to French internal traffic. Now 4 Duplex units have been moved to Ouigo fleet increasing the seats to 700, or 1400 for a double unit.
The rest of them run long distance mainly on the most crowded high speed routes.

I'll add a few pictures of these below. Maybe you could too? I'm sure many of us have a number of pictures of this TGV type.

Above and below typical looks of this train, all taken at Gare de Lyon in Paris. Things station view did not look any different 11 years ago, but if it looked like TGV-Duplex and it was double decked, that meant it was indeed of this type, unlike today.

SNCF TGV-Duplex 232 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

SNCF TGV-Duplex 232 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

SNCF TGV-Duplex 232 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

Restaurant trailer and the green shaded second class trailer entrance.

Here the type is used to add capacity to LGV-Atlantique working along the TGV-Atlantique units. Picture from Gare de Montparnasse, Paris.

SNCF TGV-Duplex 232 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

SNCF TGV-Duplex 232 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France

 

SNCF TGV-Duplex 217 at Paris Montparnasse, France


 Part 14: Thalys-PBKA Units for More Capacity in France, Benelux and Germany...

 

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  Part 14: Thalys-PBKA Units for More Capacity in France, Benelux and Germany

Thalys PBKA nymber 4331 in Köln, germany

Thalys PBKA was the next TGV type for the "North of Paris" operations including all of Benelux and German destinations. This train has two locomotives of basically a four voltage (1500 V DC, 3000 V DC, 15 kV 16,7 Hz and 25 kV 50 Hz) TGV-Duplex type. These locomotives can offer abundant power to run the Réseau type 8 trailers sandwiched between them. Single story trailers for the volumes existing were seen being quite sufficient. This also added an important compatibility with the previous Thalys PBA / TGV-Réseau trains. With similar rolling stock you can easily use any of the Thalys trains easier in place of another (as long as the voltage and train control equipment match).

The PBKA sets seem to be often found on routes to Germany, as our pictures from Köln Hauptbahnhof suggest. Even double PGKA sets are used here for more crowded services. Please notice the satellite antennae atop the second trailer. Here the connections should work, though I don't know if the operator has done this premium priced service or is giving it for free to use of the passengers. Pictures here by Ilkka.

Thalys PBKA number 4331 in Köln, Germany

Thalys PBKA number 4331 in Köln, Germany

As with other TGVs, the Thalyses have also been refurbished at least once. Refurbished units are easy to distinguish from the olders by the larger decoration on the locomotives.

Thalys PBKA number 4331 in Köln, Germany


Thalys PBKA unit 4307 at Paris Gare du Nord, France


Thalys PBKA unit 4343 at Paris Gare du Nord, France


Vision TGV story was created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Focalplane, Richard Oed and John McKey.



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 Part 15: TGV-Iris, track inspection at 320 km/h / 199 mph...

 
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  Part 15: TGV-Iris320, track inspection sat 320 km/h

TGV Iris320 high speed metering and monitoring trains for France
One of the most unusual TGV train was built if 2006 from a TGV-Réseau unit 4530. This train became TGV-Iris320, a track inspection train running 320 km/h / 199 mph! The French love show off to the world...

TGV Iris inspects the rails of the French high speed lines and normal electrified lines. One of a kind in the whole world it shows what the French product development is capable of on its home turf (although the French are often poor salesmen when it comes to marketing the exports).

TGV Iris320 high speed metering and monitoring trains for France

TGV Iris320 high speed metering and monitoring trains for France

While moving with the flow of traffic, the TGV-Iris320s state of art instruments detect any wear, tear and other infra based risks and incorrect measurements. Also, it is a base and super high speed moving hotel for its staff! It also has a several trailers long hotel for its crew, and even the VIP facilities. Or what do you say about the following trailers design:
1 - power car: TGV-Reseau Locomotive,
2 - trailer: Systems for measuring the geometry, vehicle-track interactions, and overhead wire observation post,
3 - trailer: Instruments for signal measuring and overhead wire,
4 - trailer: Information systems and communication links,
5 - trailer: conference room,
6 - trailer: class 1 VIP area,
7 - trailer: kitchen and lunchroom,
8 - trailer: 6 bedrooms,
9 - trailer: 4 bedrooms with showers, an observation cupole for overhead wire,
10 - power car: TGV-Reseau Locomotive.

This TGV train is so fast and powerful that it can run and inspect the whole French rail network in one week. Additional task have been sold for inspecting the Channel tunnel and British High Speed one where this unit is being used regularly.

TGV Iris320 high speed metering and monitoring trains for France


Vision TGV story was created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Focalplane, Richard Oed and John McKey.



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  Part 16: TGV-V150 Running for Speed Record...

 
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  Part 16: TGV-V150 Running for Speed!

TGV-V150 running for the record on LGV-Est, France
Most of the time when you see TGVs running these are production units, still running at super high speeds, but packed with passengers. With show business loving French there have also been a various speed record attempts, always with good results due to careful planning and rehearsing. And a lot on media publicity.


Here is a short story of the records history:
-> In 1972 the gas turbine powered French prototype train TGV-001 unit run 318 km/h (198 mph) and surpassed the then magical 300 km/h limit several hundred times in 1970's. This is still today the record for the gas turbine powered multiple units.

-> In 1981 the electric TGV-PSE production unit 16 like the one below ran at an incredible speed of 380 km/h (236 mph) on the Paris-SudEst high speed line.

-> This was the awakening call for the Germans who gradually perfected their ICE-V (V German for Versuch or Trial) train to run faster and faster. In 1988 it was their time to create the new world record of 408,4 kph (254 mph) with the ICE-V test train.

-> In 1990 the French had their next generation of the TGVs the TGV-Atlantique ready for revenge and with minor modifications (like added spoilers) a new record of 515,3 km/h (320 mph) was set at Vendome France by unit 325. According to Keith Fender a famous railroad journalist the Germans got the message and the road ahead in speed records was clear for Alstom (builder of the TGVs and AGVs) and the SNCF (French National railways).

-> in 2001 a production TGV Reséau run 1067 kilometers (663 miles) non stop at an incredible 3 hours and 29 minutes!

-> In 2007 Alstom and the SNCF made the 'final' record run on the "race-car-built" TGV-V150, resulting a momentary speed of 574,8 km/h (356,67 mph), which is currently the existing world record for standard trains. The train had dozens of guests, members of media and engineers aboard to witness and assist with the event. The specially built train had several modifications to help achieve the record:

-- extra streamlining was added,
-- the second pantograph removed,
-- larger than normal wheels were installed,
-- just 3 intermediate double decked coaches were used, even these with 2 powered bogies (unusual for the TGVs)
-- and to finalize the effort the voltage on the overhead line on the LGV-EST was raised to 31 kV instead of the norm 25kV.
--- I've also read that there was a double overhead wire to provide enough electricity, but this is unconfirmed information. Double wires are sometimes used in where the current needs are higher than normally.

In the pictures the Alstom TGV-V150 seen on its record run and the half train on the following tour and celebration in 2007.

TGV-V150 in Paris celebrating the new world record

TGV-V150 in Paris celebrating the new world record

And as usual, since all records have been run on pretty much production equipment, it is possible to spot these train sets. Here is the other power car seen last summer at Gare du Nord, Paris, providing more than enough power for the Réseau trailer set sandwiched between this and the other loco. The vinyls used for the record run in 2007 still look pretty good on the locomotive despite extensive running and regular washing.

The always to be seen (despite their small number) TGV-POS sets will be reviewed in the next article.

SNCF TGV-POS loco 4402 at Paris Gare de l'Est, France

SNCF TGV-POS loco 4402 front, Paris Gare de l'Est, France

SNCF TGV-POS loco 4402 side, Paris Gare de l'Est, France


Vision TGV story was created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Focalplane, Richard Oed and John McKey.



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  Part 17: TGV-POS Racing Down on the LGV-Est...

 
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  Part 17: TGV-POS "Race Cars" Running on LGV-Est

SNCF TGV-POS loco 4410, Paris Gare de l'Est, France
At the time of the opening of the LGV-Est high speed line East of Paris SNCF was desperately short of rolling stock due to the booming passenger business. The answer came in doing some creative swapping of the rolling stock consists. First part of the solution were the 19 new trivoltage locomotives for the newly formed TGV-POS units. These units were attached to the Réseau type trailer sets that their owner locomotives gave them. Double decked trailer sets were built for the vacated TGV-Réseau locomotives.

TGV-POS mixes French and German languages coming from German "TGV Paris Ostfrankreich Süddeutschland, in English "Paris to East France and Southern Germany". TGV is the French part "Train à grande vitesse" meaning high speed train. Each POS unit is powered by then new types of asynchronous locomotives providing the set abundant power of 9280 kW / 12'450 hp under 25 kV 50 Hz. In Germany and Switzerland the units use 15 kV 16,7 Hz. French 1500 V DC is naturally installed too for any classic line or entrance to the cities away of the high speed lines (like all stations in Paris).

SNCF TGV-POS number 4405 at Strasbourg station, France
The TGV-POS have had very lively life so far. For prototype use their locomotives ran the new world speed record as part of the TGV-V150 (see the previous part). Initially the TGV-POSes were assigned mainly to the LGV-Est running East of Paris to destinations in Germany and Switzerland, or in between these destinations. The main criteria being serving the LGV-Est. Why older single story trailers then? The answer lies in capacity issues: most new lines see the volumes building up gradually, so assigning there the lower capacity trailers first makes sense, if these can be found. The SNCF media publicity and reality sometimes differ. In 2011 it was announced that all 19 TGV-POS would go to TGV-Lyria use between France and Switzerland. Well, it would appear that still in 2012 summer many were in other uses and Swiss traffic was still handled with trivoltage TGV-PSEs. TGV-POS units could easily be seen at Paris Gare du Nord leaving other destinations besides Switzerland. However, Ilkka visited Paris Gare de Lyon recently and now some TGV-POS units could be found there. The quickest route to Switzerland starts from this station after the recent new high speed line opening. So _maybe_ there is change happening, time will tell.

SNCF TGV-POS at Paris Gare du Nord, France


SNCF TGV-POS loco 4402 at Paris Gare de l'Est, France


It also seems obvious one of the TGV-POSes has been vinyled and painted to TGV-Lyria colors of Carmillion front in almost the new SNCF high speed livery plus trailers in pure silver gray with a narrow red band running the train length above the windows. I hope some of us can post a picture here of this unit, sooner or later. Also the other units working for Lyria service of SNCF + SBB are likely to receive this new livery in time.

One important notion: Switzerland is not pure TGV-POS + TGV-PSE country now. A brand new double decked TGV-2N2 unit (latest TGV design) is also uised there. So maybe the TGV-POS sets will see varied use also in the future.

SNCF TGV-POS number 4411 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France


SNCF TGV-POS number 4411 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France





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  Part 18: TGV-Hybrid / TGV-RéseauDuplex...

 
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  Part 18: TGV-Hybrid / TGV-RéseauDuplex

SNCF TGV-ReséauDuplex unit 619 near Nissan oppidum, southern France
It is time to introduce the TGV-Hybrid which some also know as TGV-RéseauDuplex (what a cumbersome name). After all it was him who found the first unit after almost a year of searching. This story is a mirror image of what happened with the TGV-POSes in the previous article.

To have trains for the LGV-EST running SNCF had to do a little imaginative thinking with mixing and matching. So the smaller volume LGV-EST new and powerful locomotives got the single story used Réseau trailers and the 38 original TGV-Réseau locomotives earlier with those sets were left to wait for standard Duplex coach sets to be finished from Alstom product lines, something that seemed to take a while, judging on how slowly the sets started to appear on the track. Might have well be that the order was done so late Alstom was unprepared to run the line at full speed. You do not order planes (in many respects related to high speed trains, let your imagination to catch the similarities...) or ships (another big project) overnight, nor are the high speed aluminum designs with lots of electronics available off shelf.

So the building ran through 2006 to 2008. With 19 additional Duplex-trailer sets (this is the older style double decked coaching) built. The results were quite interesting with the older style TGV-locomotive disguised now with the broader blue bands to hide its true form to match the very streamlines trailers. So well an unaccustomed observer hardly can tell the difference, if not looking at the 600 number series or the seam between the locomotive and the trailer set leading edge, which looks unusual. But of course we are accustomed to see unusual trains almost daily.

But let's ask an important question: why this underpowered inside France double decked set? And here we have to guess from the facts we know. Lets look at the situation on the main artery South of Paris towards Lyon and beyond: the line is saturating, so by switching 19 single story trailers to 19 double decked ones there was a quite significant capacity boost. Also the single story trailers rare in the rush hours were now out of the way since they were inadequate with their capacity. The newly formed sets are actually 30 tons lighter, or 150 kilograms for every added person at the limit of the capacity, so they actually run lighter than the usual TGV-Réseaus! Which offsets a little of the what little force the locomotives lack with their combines 8800 kW / 11796 hp power. (if this seems quite high, compare it with the POS / Daisy / 2N2 set locos with 9280 kW / 12617 hp. Of course it can be argued that 48 kW / 82 hp per unit can be seen very little power but it is added power. Our technology specialists online might also be able to tell what difference does the AC synchronous drive against the AC asynchronous drive play here. And I just noticed by comparing the units on 4rail.net TGV page http://4rail.net/fast_tgv1.php the newer generation locos are 30 tons heavier.

Time to enjoy pictures:
Above the honorary very first picture by Focalplane of the TGV-Hybrid dashing through the French Southern landscape in Nissan. This angle also shows well the unmatching pair of the locomotive and the trailer. Also the racecar appearance of some TGV units is well seen here!

Below another angle to the same / similar train. This shows well the whole formation.
SNCF TGV-ReséauDuplex unit 619 near Nissan oppidum, southern France

And the same train seen from the distance on a hot day. See how different the locomotives look even from this distance!
SNCF TGV-ReséauDuplex unit 619 near Nissan oppidum, southern France

SNCF TGV-Hybrid unit 614 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France
My first angle to the TGV-Hybrid, seen while eating on the window table of the Train Bleu upstairs the Gare de Lyon.

SNCF TGV-ReséauDuplex 606 side
Above is a study of the edge between the loco and the trailer.

Then some nose pictures of these still relatively rare (because of the small 19 unit fleet size) TGV-Hybrid at Gare de Lyon after the supper at Train Bleu. (Not the same train on the busy station as above).
SNCF TGV-Hybrid number 606 , Paris Gare de Lyon, France

SNCF TGV-Hybrid 606 locomotive, Paris Gare de Lyon, France





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  Part 19: TGV-Dasye...

 
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  Part 19: TGV-Dasye Double Deckers

SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 744 stopping at Nice Ville, France
With the ever increasing demand for high speed services SNCF decided to go a head with yet another set of double decked trains, the type of which were named TGV-Dasye. This is _NOT_ TGV-Duplex, as it is often mixed with, but it is in fact another TGV species. While this train still sports the tried Duplex style oldish trailers, it uses asynchronous locomotives first introduced with the TGV-POS sets. From these locos derive the TGV-Dasye name.

The TGV-Dasyes were numbered to 700 series and by now they have become very visible working in the shared fleet with TGV-Réseaus, TGV-Hybrid/RéseauDuplexes and TGV-Duplexes. The Dasye units are also responsible for part of the French Spanish traffic between Paris and Barcelona. 52 units have been ordered so far, but there also seems to be a great confusion on this train types orders. Most of the information I found on wikipedia is strangely unreliable, confused and out of date. But from a number of other sources I managed to find this info (I'm not saying facts): around 50 trains have been delivered to SNCF itself plus obviously units 760-763 to Ouigo service of SNCF.

Next come the pictures!

SNCF TGV noses, Paris Gare de Lyon, France

  TGV-Dasye unit 744 at Nice Ville on French Riviera. It arrived from Paris with a Carmillion colored TGV-Réseau to return there alone in the late evening.


  For some reason I often hear people saying about these pictures that the trains are kissing...how matching for the French trains!


  Here is an unknown TGV-Dasye double decker arriving at sundown to Paris Gare de Lyon.

 

SNCF TGV-Dasye unit backing for depot from Paris Gare de Lyon, France

SNCF TGV-DASYE unit 735 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France
  TGV-Dasye unit 735 at Paris Gare de Lyon coupled with a TGV-Duplex unit 281.

  A wide sliding door entrance to quite well accessible first class.
SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 709, Paris Gare de Lyon, France
Dirty snails of TGV
  Here even the TGV logo on train 709 has taken some high speed weathering...

  Some pictures of the TGV-Dasye #709 after long days work.
SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 709 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France
SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 709 at Paris Gare de Lyon, France
SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 709, 1st class coach seatings, Paris Gare de Lyon, France
SNCF TGV-Dasye unit 709 loco from side, Paris Gare de Lyon, France





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  Part 19: TGV-2N2...

 
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  Part 20: TGV-2N2

SNCF TGV-2N2 unit 4719 in Zurich, Switzerland
The TGV-2N2 is the latest development of the over 600 unit TGV fleet of Alstom. Almost needless to say, this train is an enhanced version of already state of the art and durable vehicles the company produces. (But I write it anyway since some of you might not be aware of Alstom or TGVs). The TGV trains have always been very high quality although the Alstom being dumb in media relations and customer orientation (although brilliant engineers) might give you a different picture, they are just handling things very French way. So the international success story has been more or less failure so far, at least until now.

Even here it is the operator SNCF (the French national railways owned by EU member state of France) who is expanding to neighboring countries with a new fleet of high capacity double decked TGVs. These trains have this time a redesigned trailer section, something Alstom worked on for over 5 years perfecting all features and testing their durability for the high volume traffic. When the volumes are high, the wear and tear really show if the solutions are anything less than perfect. If there is need to change parts prematurely, it costs the operator a lot, and the vehicle might be out of traffic, so for productivity's sake everything is built for durability.

The TGV-2N2 has basically the same locomotives we have seen topping and tailing the TGV-Dasye and TGV-POS before it, with some internal additions. It is a Bo'Bo' AC model with 9280 kw / 12620 hp for its use under 25 kV 50 Hz. This kind of voltage can be found in more advanced electrified countries France itself, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. But the beef here is that it has been enhanced with most common European electrical supply voltages as well. 15 kV 16,7 Hz is needed for Germany, Switzerland and Austria (plus some unlikely target countries), here the locos can supply combined 6800 kW / 9120 hp which may seem quite low figure but it should be quite enough for these countrie's high speed lines. Under DC 1500V the power supplied is only 3680 kW / 5003 hp, but again this is quite enough to not to overwhelm the current supplying equipment over classic lines. The top speed of the TGV-2N2 is still 320 km/h / 199 mph, but likely can be raised later to more, say 340 km/h / 211 mph if needed. This kind of move has happened before and it could well happen again. We also know that Alstom has a newer generation of the electric motors for its use, but again media silence here. So my guessing is this newer type has not lived up to expectations economically. It is actually used under the AGVs and some other EMUs where there is no room for traditional and tried locomotive modules.

It looks like the TGV-2N2 has been running for quite a while to Switzerland and the German traffic is starting. This might also be a solution for the SNCF Channel tunnel traffic, built so that at the other end is a powered trailer (not much additional power needed here on flat lands) (instead of a locomotive normally used), two parts combined together there and splittable if necessary. Alstom actually published plans of this kind of TGV years ago. The current TGVs, when you look their outside air intake grilles etc. should survive the flying snow somewhat better than the Eurostars. Icing conditions are not handled even today to the level they should be in the Nordic though.

Then to pictures: Ilkka took these two pictures in Zürich Switzerland where the brand new TGV-2N2 unit 4719 was in traffic early this year. And I'm eagerly waiting for additional pictures from any of you, especially seen from above where there are differences on this train type compared with the earlier models.
SNCF TGV-2N2 unit 4719 in Zurich, Switzerland





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© 4rail.net Railroad Reference 2004 - 2013   -   Created 25.4.2013 John McKey, Updated 1.7.2013