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European Railroad Discussion > TGV Prototype Preserved in Strasbourg

Date: 12/13/19 13:00
TGV Prototype Preserved in Strasbourg
Author: F7sForever

French high speed rail has been around long enough that some of the original vehicles are starting to find their way to museums and other preservation venues, while more are heading to scrap after fruitful, multi-million mile careers. But few preserved vehicles are as important - or as unremarked - as the two power cars of the very first TGV prototype, TGV 001. The set consisted of three articulated coaches seating 244, with gas turbine electric power cars on each end of the train. The coaches have been lost, but the two power cars are preserved. TGV001 T001 is mounted in a highway roundabout at the D855 exit off of the A4 Motorway in Blichsheim, a suburb of Strasbourg, France. The other power car, TGV001 T002, is similarly mounted along the A36 Motorway about 90 miles away in Belfort, near the Alstom factory that the set was built at. While in Strasbourg last month, I took advantage of a little down time to take a look at T001.

Though it certainly looks familial with the regular service TGVs that followed, there are a lot of very significant differences between TGV001 and the production TGVs that entered service. The biggest difference was power plant - 001's power cars each utilized a pair of Turbomeca Turmo IIIG gas turbines making 1,600hp each, coupled to an alternator. The entire arrangement was surprisingly compact - the engines and alternator sat above the first three equipment doors that you can see between the trucks, while area for air intakes and filtration was behind that. The power plant was so small, in fact, that the power cars had a small baggage room at the back end where the first coach sat on a shared bogie.

Size wasn't a defining advantage, though. TGV001 made over 5,000 test trips and ran over half a million kilometers to test various aspects of France's high speed rail program. It exceeded 300 kph 175 times, according to the Wikipedia entry on the set. It still holds the world speed record for gas turbine rail vehicles, at 318kph. And while it didn't ever turn a wheel in revenue service, the TGV001 test program laid the foundation for not only the TGV system that we see today, but several other French rail programs.

Commissioned in 1969 and delivered in 1972, TGV001 owes its general shape, and the brilliant orange color that its predecessors carried clear into the early 90's, to sports car designer Jacques Cooper. But ultimately, the light turbine engine proved to be its undoing. Even as SNCF extended other aspects of the turbo train program that would eventually lead to turbine powered trains throughout France and even into Canada and North America, they were paying heed to steeply rising fuel oil prices. The decision ultimately was made to switch to electric propulsion for the production TGVs. Still, TGV001 as a rolling laboratory was invaluable in helping move the French high speed rail program to the world's upper echelon.

The power car in Blichsheim sits on a nice, fence-enclosed plinth next to the busy motorway between Strasbourg and Paris, which was jammed up pretty well during normal rush hour times, at least according to Google Maps. It seemingly heralds what folks stuck in traffic could be doing with their time instead. The plinth is within view of a TGV maintenance facility. It was about a 15 minute bus ride and a few blocks' walk from Gare du Strasbourg. After giving it a good thorough walk-around, I caught another bus back to the train station to carry on with my day.

In addition to the other power car at Belfort, TGV PSE electric power car 61 and a later class T2000 RTG turbine train are both preserved at the Cite du Train, France's national railway museum, in Mulhouse, which is between Belfort and Strasbourg in eastern France. I was glad to have seen the preserved power car in Strasbourg, and am hoping to have a look at is counterpart as well as paying the musuem a visit next time I am in France.

More adventures to come!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/13/19 13:09 by F7sForever.

Date: 12/13/19 21:23
Re: TGV Prototype Preserved in Strasbourg
Author: gaspeamtrak

That is and excellent thing to do with them !!!
Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)

Date: 12/24/19 10:05
Re: TGV Prototype Preserved in Strasbourg
Author: railstiesballast

One of the first series of Shinkasen trains from Japan is in the York RR museum in England.
These are all incredible machines, but they are helpless without the infrastructure and the institutions that support them.
Time keeps flying by, thankfully people have a sense of history and do document things before they are gone.

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