SNCF’s new high-speed train officially presented

French public railways SNCF has presented the new TGV train, the so-called ‘train of the future’ expected for the second half of 2025. The train has a rather understated aesthetic and is all white, with some red accents for the logo and doors, as opposed to the striking orange of the early models.

The SNCF invested 3.5 billion euros in purchasing 115 new Alstom transits, which offer more seats and less energy consumption than the current TGVs and will be delivered bit by bit in 2025 and 2026 at a rate of 12 per year from 2027 onward.

SNCF’s strategic asset

The transits are manufactured at Alstom’s Belfort workshops. Some 800 are working daily to deliver one every four months. If all goes well, the last transit will be delivered in ten years, although it is still scrambling to get ready as the first transit was expected before the Paris Olympics this summer.

At SNCF, they cannot be laughing at this delay. Also, the rail company is struggling with a shortage of rolling stock, and ticket sales for the summer are going like a bomb. However, Alstom had good excuses for not being on time, such as the impact of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, which led to stock shortages for specific components and technical and industrial hazards.

The contract provides a penalty anyway if the delivery date is not respected, and the SNCF will wait until the end of deliveries scheduled for 2032 to do its accounts and claim its dues.

SNCF will extend the life of 104 current TGV trains, which have been scrapped after 40 years, by up to ten years to compensate for this lack of new transits.

‘Strategic asset’

That time is pressing, and SNCF urgently wants to play its new trump card, which was also evident at yesterday’s presentation. “This TGV M is our strategic asset,” said Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs. They should enable SNCF to “compete on our railways in France.”

Indeed, with the liberalization of domestic rail traffic, SNCF has lost its long-standing monopoly position, and competition is not sitting still in the meantime. The first TGV M, with ‘M’ for modular, will therefore be launched on the southeast axis (Paris-Lyon-Marseille), where competition is already present with Trenitalia, but also with the imminent arrival of Spanish Renfe.

As its name suggests, modularity allows the number of trainsets to be adjusted as closely as possible to meet market needs. Depending on the expected crowds, a first-class space can quickly be transformed into a second-class space or a train’s interior reconfigured by removing or adding seats.

Sobriety & elegance

This is the fifth batch of TGVs ordered by SNCF since the early 1980s. General director of SNCF Voyages Alain Krakovich describes the transit as “the most innovative train since the first series” that came into service in 1981.

According to him, there is also more space, with 20% more seats despite the same train length (740 passengers compared to 634 currently), as well as more space per passenger and stable Wi-FI – finally – thanks to 5G receivers.


The choice of white as the color meets climate change requirements, as it “makes it possible to turn down the air conditioning in case of high heat.” “Orange symbolizes technological prowess and achievement. White is the harmony between the train and the landscape,” dixit Fanichet.

“I define the design in two words: sobriety and elegance,” said Krakovich. “A fine line specific to Japanese design that the French love so much, but which is indeed Made in France in production.”

Lower prices?

This new model, first put on the rail in September 2022, should also consume less energy thanks to its pointed nose and a redesigned engine that now allows eco-driving.

According to SNCF, the carbon footprint of the future TGV-M, which can last ten years longer on average, will be the lowest on the market, thanks to a 32% reduction in CO2 emissions for each journey. SNCF also qualifies most manufacturing materials used in its design as recyclable.

SNCF also hints that a ticket price reduction is possible in the future, although that remains to be seen. More passengers can be transported if more TGVs can run, leading to lower prices.


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