TGV 001

Last week I went long winded on the original Bullet Train from Japan. This week, I'm writing about a train having played somewhat of a similar role to the Series 0 but has never seen commercial service. She is the TGV 001, first of what has become the world famous fast train of Europe, le train à grande vitesse, the TGV, the high speed train.

It is very evident that the TGV 001 set the general tone for styling of the later TGVs

Unlike the later production TGVs, the TGV 001 is an experimental articulated gas turbine-electric trainset. Built by Alstom (then called GEC-Alsthom), this prototype trainset began testing in 1972. The SNCF, la Société Nationale des Chermins de fer Français, the French National Railways chose to power their fast train with fossil fuel and on board power generation in order to avoid the infrastructure cost of having to erect cantenaries along the railroad mainline. However this later became expensive and unpractical after the 1973 oil crisis.

Although the gas turbines were fitted in control cab cars on either end of the trainset, every axle of the TGV 001 was fitted with an electric traction motor. Unlike the later electric TGVs, every car of the TGV 001 share a truck with another car (the electric TGVs' power cars have their own trucks, btw, in International English, a truck is called a bogie). Until today, the TGV 001 still holds the speed record for gas turbine trains, a whopping 198 mph. Testing of the trainset concluded in 1978.


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