The acronym TGV stands for Train à Grande Vitesse, in French, which translates to high-speed train. TGVs are electric trainsets, which run on France's high-speed rail network, and are operated by SNCF Voyages, which is the long distance version of SNCF; France's national rail operator. All TGVs are classified, under the UIC wheel arrangement system, as Bo+Bo+, except for the power-cars which are have Bo'Bo' trucks/bogies.
The idea of the TGV was thought of in the 1960s, because of Japan's Shinkansen, also known as "bullet trains". Originally intended to be gas-turbine powered, the project switched to electric because of the petrol crisis of the 1970s. The first train, TGV-001, was a gas-tubine powered prototype. This engine wasn't wasted, it was used to test aerodynamics, high-speed brakes, signaling etc. It set, and it still stands, the record speed for a non-electric train; a speed of 318kp/h (198mp/h). The first line was funded by the French government in 1976. The first service that was opened to the public, on the 27 of September 1981, ran between Paris and Lyon.
- The TGV Sud-Est and TGV La Poste are the first TGVs to operate publicly. The La Poste means, "The Post", since this was the freight version, but mostly, only mail was transported. The company was also called La Poste.
- The TGV Atlantique.
- The TGV Réseau.
- The TGV-TMST.
- The TGV Duplex has two floors for greater passenger capacity.
- The Thalys PBA and PBKA.
- The TGV POS. This made the world speed record for conventionally supported rail transportation.