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TGV Atlantique 325 celebrates the 32nd anniversary of its 515.3 km/h speed record. All you need to know about the record train!

TGV Atlantique 325 celebrates the 32nd anniversary of its 515.3 km/h speed record. All you need to know about the record train!
photo: Yann Prudhomme on LinkedIn/TGV Atlantique 325 celebrates the 32nd anniversary of its 515.3 km/h speed record. All you need to know about the record train!
24 / 05 / 2022

In May 1990, the TGV Atlantique 325 set a speed record of 515.3 km/h south of Vendôme on the southwest line. In 2022, to commemorate the 32nd anniversary, every m train, including the record-breaking 325, was equipped with new GPU (Grand Plongeur Unique) pantographs by Faiveley - Wabtec Corporation.

TGV Atlantique 325 / Yann Prudhomme on LinkedIn

TGV Atlantique 325 / Yann Prudhomme on LinkedIn

TGV Atlantique is a series of French high-speed electric trains of the 2nd generation. TGV-A electric vehicles of the first generation (TGV Sud-Est) differ primarily by their higher output power (8800 kW versus 6400 kW), use of synchronous traction motors, and improved profile of motor cars. Apart from that, they differ in their distinctive and strikingly different layout and increased length of the trains (the number of intercity cars has been increased from 8 to 10).

On February 26, 1981, the TGV Sud-Est electric train set a speed record for track trains of 380.4 km/h in an experimental run on the LGV Sud-Est line. It lasted for seven years until May 1, 1988, when it was broken by the German electric train ICE-V, which accelerated to 406.9 km/h.

TGV Atlantique 325 / Yann Prudhomme on LinkedIn

In response, a broad test program for the then-new TGV-A electric train was launched in France in November of that year. The goal was to reach a speed of 420 km/h by train, and the program itself received the symbol "Projet TGV 117" (later, its name was changed to "Projet TGV 140"). For experimental trips, the TGV-A 325 serial electric train was selected, which was slightly modified, and the number of intermediate cars was reduced to 4. A 280-kilometer section of the newly built but not yet commissioned LGV Atlantique high-speed line was selected for the races, and a special catenary network was installed during the construction. On December 3, 1989, the electric train reached a speed of 482.4 km/h, thus setting a new world record. Over the next few months, the electric train underwent further improvements, including the reduction of the intermediate cars to three. On May 9, 1990, the electric train exceeded 500 km/h, reaching a speed of 510.6 km / h, and on May 18, another experimental trip ended with the establishment of a new world record for track trains, which lasted for more than a decade and a half. It hit a speed of 515.3 km/h.

TGV Atlantique 325 / Yann Prudhomme on LinkedIn

At the beginning of 2009, the full electric train TGV-A 325 (10 cars) operated at the same level as the other electric trains of the series. The emblem on the nose and the plaques on the motor cars remind us of the record it set.

The TGV Atlantique speed record lasted for 17 years until the TGV POS series electric train improved it by 59 km/h in 2007.

Anyone interested in seeing this technological flagship of the 20th century can find the locomotive and trailer preserved at the Cité du Train in Mulhouse. The second engine is kept at TATL SNCF in Châtillon.

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