France’s new high-speed train

Photograph: Alstom

Snazzyier, faster, greener and more spacious trains are coming to the French TGV network

France is known for having one of the world’s finest high-speed rail networks. The country’s network of TGVs (or ‘Trains à Grande Vitesse’, as any true train aficionado will no doubt already know) covers pretty much all of France and is an exceptionally fast and convenient way to get around.

But are they resting on their laurels? Mais, non. France’s TGVs are about to get even snazzier, with new ‘TGV M’ trains set to launch in 2024. And according to the the French national rail operator SNCF, they’ll be substantially faster, greener and more spacious than the current models.

TGV Ms will be able to reach a mind-melting top speed of 220 miles per hour – which is about ten percent faster than current models, and even faster than Japan’s current generation of bullet trains. For passengers, that means much shorter journey times. Paris to Saint Raphaël on the French Riviera, for instance, would currently typically take about five hours. The new trains will cut that down to four-and-a-half.

And TGV Ms aren’t just faster than current TGVs: they’re also more energy efficient, promising a 32 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. Plus there’s 20 percent more onboard space, with capacity increasing from 634 passengers to 740.

The new trains will also be quite a bit more luxurious. Manufacturer Alstom says they’ll have superfast onboard Wi-Fi and real-time journey updates, as well as bigger windows – all the better to take in the rolling countryside and France’s prettiest villages as they whizz by. Here are a few pics of the new TGV Ms.

SNCF has apparently ordered 115 of these beauties, with 100 designated for domestic use and 15 for international routes to neighbouring Spain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. The new trains have cost SNCF €2.7 billion (£2.34 billion, $2.7 billion).

As we say, these new trains will launch in 2024, so you’ve got plenty of time to get plan