Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get a sense of the TGV

I highly recommend subscribing to the YouTube channel from the user dashloc. He works as a TGV operator for SNCF in France, but is also talented behind the camera and has made some great videos.

His films are good ways to get a sense of where and how fast the trains can run, and can also give a bit of an idea of what sort of noise they give off. High-speed trains sound a bit like jet airliners flying through the sky until they get close and you can hear the whooshing noises as each individual rail car goes by. It's hard to tell how loud they are, though I wouldn't want to live really close to a high-speed line where trains run at full speed.

TGVs generally operate with a top speed of 186 miles per hour (300 km/h), though I think there's at least one line where they can go a bit faster.

Oh, and a little note about terminology: TGV stands for Train à Grande Vitesse ("high-speed train"), while LGV stands for Lignes à Grande Vitesse ("high-speed line"). TGV trains can operate on both LGV tracks and at limited speeds on lignes classiques, the historical rail network (and yes, TGV trains do go through some grade crossings on those older lines). Conversely, non-TGV trains can also run on the LGV network as long as they meet appropriate requirements such as having the right signaling equipment and, presumably, run fast enough to not get in the way too much.

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