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For its 40th anniversary, the SNCF is bringing out a TGV train set which had broken a speed record in 1981


The famous train 16 had reached 380 km / h on February 26, 1981, marking the beginning of the epic of its star train.

"It's as if we said we were working on the Concorde!"

For the 40th anniversary of the TGV, the SNCF took out this Friday from its retirement the train that broke a speed record on February 26, 1981, marking the beginning of the epic of its star train.

Read also: How the SNCF intends to move forward

The event in itself was not spectacular: a return trip at low speed between Gare de Lyon in Paris and the technicentre of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (Val-de-Marne), that is to say twice 12 kilometers.

But he has attracted his share of aficionados, such as Hamid Moradi, a 22-year-old engineering student who came to the platform with his TGV in a scale model, just for the photo.

Read also: The SNCF wants to launch hyper low-cost trains

The star of the day is train number 16, well known to railway enthusiasts, those crazy about trains.

"This is the train that the SNCF has chosen to keep in its collection to testify to the adventure of high speed,"

explains Florent Brachet-Champsaur, head of heritage at SNCF.

Delivered by Alstom - Alsthom at the time - in November 1980, it covered 13.4 million kilometers before its retirement in December 2018. It was it who broke the famous record, at 380 km / h February 26, 1981, during operation "TGV 100".

The idea was to exceed 100 meters per second.

The number 16 train which broke a speed record, at 380 km / h on February 26, 1981. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

This same train 16 was used for the inauguration of the new Paris-Lyon line by President François Mitterrand on September 22, 1981 - the fortieth anniversary will be celebrated at the start of the school year.

The TGV was then traveling at 260 km / h, and one of the objectives of the record was to reassure the public about the reliability of the machine.

The speed was increased to 270 km / h the following year.

The SNCF's favorite train has been running at up to 300 or 320 km / h, and the record has been broken five times, including four times by the SNCF.

The last one was in April 2007, at 574.8 km / h.

Retyped "by enthusiasts"

“When I said 'I work on the TGV', people were really impressed, we were proud, proud, proud”

, testifies Jean-Marie Grimler, who joined the SNCF for equipment in 1982.

“It's as if we said we were working on the Concorde! ”.

Parked at Alstom in La Rochelle, the most prestigious train set in the TGV Sud-Est series has survived thanks to a team of volunteer railway workers, who took turns to keep it in working order.

She returned to Villeneuve-Saint-Georges a few months ago to be retyped

"by enthusiasts, on their time"

, says Yann Franche, the industrial director of the technicenter.

"We have endeavored to restore it to working order in accordance with the rules of the art, as our documents require, in order to be able to re-obtain authorization to travel"

, he explains.

"We had it yesterday (Thursday) at 3:30 PM!"

The SNCF is now meeting in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges for heritage days in September, a few days before the fortieth anniversary of the inauguration.

Train 16 should then make a short tour of France.

"This train, in addition to having beaten the record and made the inauguration, it has a little magic power"

, notes the driver Antoine Leroy, one of the volunteers who watches over the machine.

“She has the power to make children smile, she has the power to bring back memories of the oldest among us.

It has the power to turn people around on the docks. ”

"And then for us, SNCF agents, it has the power to bring us together,"

he continues.

“We all meet in this train, because it conveys our values.

We like to talk about what we do, we like to transmit. "

Read also: The puzzle of the rebirth of night trains

A communion around the heritage which makes one forget the pandemic for a while, and the 3 billion euros of loss of the SNCF announced Wednesday.

One detail remains: will the train 16, which ended its career in red and gray, find the famous orange livery of the 1980s?

Laminating would cost at least 100,000 euros, and repainting it at least 500,000 euros.

Is the expense reasonable in these times of crisis?

SNCF communications director Stéphanie Rismont promises

"a decision quite quickly"


Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2021-02-26

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