- Title: 'The great odyssey': France celebrates 40th anniversary of TGV high-speed train
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 17, 2021) (AGENCY POOL) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "I tell you with conviction that the coming decades will be that of this new TGV, decades of new ways to move for the French, whether it's the TGV or local train services, and the decades of rail freight and so a renewed future for the SNCF (state-run rail operator). It's an industrial bet, a bet on the environment, a bet on urban planning infrastructure. This is a deep conviction and a choice to massively invest, something which will be done in the coming months." WHITE FLASH FRAME (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "Some speak about French identity as a way of dividing the French. French identity is that great odyssey which we have written through generations, that which brought together cities, mountains, and seas, despite everything and despite the obstacles. French identity is a life adventure, an industrial one, of innovation, of services, and generosity. French identity is the capacity to embrace the future by knowing where we come from, everything we've done, and also how to build the country of tomorrow and project it into the new world. That's what France is, what we are together writing. Thank you to each and everyone for welcoming me today, happy birthday to the TGV and its 40 years, and long live the TGV of the future which now becomes the TGV of today. Long live the SNCF, long live the republic, long live France." CROWD GATHERED AROUND NEW TGV-M MACRON RECEIVING A MODEL OF THE FIRST TGV
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 12:53
- Keywords: High-speed train Macron SNCF TGV railway
- Location: PARIS AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, FRANCE
- City: PARIS AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Europe,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA009EV3YN2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: France marked the 40th anniversary of its high-speed train on Friday (September 17), with President Emmanuel Macron visiting the Gare de Lyon, from where the first Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) disembarked in September 1981.
It was Francois Mitterrand, a Socialist freshly in office, who walked the same platform 40 years ago to officially launch the orange train which would eventually become one of France's industrial flagships.
The French 'bullet train' would travel at speeds of 350 km/h (217 mph) firstly to join Paris to Lyon and then gradually the rest of the country, with high-speed tracks now reaching to Strasbourg and Bordeaux.
Back in 2007, a TGV reached 574.8 kilometres per hour (357 mph) in a show of force, breaking the speed record on the rail, still valid today.
"It's a human story which has taken families and friends closer has taken the French but also the rest of Europe closer," Macron said in the celebration.
"I've come 40 years later to tell you that this history, this French passion for trains, for technological ingenuity, we will carry on with it," he added. "French identity is that great odyssey which we have written through generations, that which brought together cities, mountains, and seas."
The TGV has changed a lot over the last four decades, with modernised carriages and double-decker versions. TGV train tickets are now accessible at low-cost prices to fight the competition by airline companies.
Since taking office in 2018, Macron has vowed to modernize French industries, including its state-run rail operator SNCF. Back in 1981 for the launch of the TGV, unions were already demonstrating for better working conditions. In 2018, railway workers protested for months over plans by Macron to reform the company.
Apart from France's Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV), built by Alstom, and Japan's Shinkansen, high-speed trains are also made by Germany's Siemens and Canada's Bombardier, recently bought up by Alstom.
Macron, who announced 'massive' investments, said the TGV would be key to France's strategy for the future in terms of travelling but also in helping to fight climate change.
(Production: Lucien Libert)
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