- 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) (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "It's a human story which has taken families and friends closer has taken the French but also the rest of Europe closer, London with the Eurostar, Turin, and Milan, Amsterdam and Cologne with the Thalys train, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and so a European adventure which we built. So 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." CURRENT TGV AND FIRST TGV AT QUAY (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "Firstly because in 2018, we created a new railway pact which was the first step to make our country's railway system viable. People said for a long time that these reforms were impossible to do, but we carried them out together, it wasn't always easy and there might have been some protests."
- 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: LVA006EV3YN2F
- 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)
- Copyright Holder: POOL (CAN SELL)
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