Celebrated this week by Emmanuel Macron, the 40 years of the Paris-Lyon TGV line nostalgia for the Trente Glorieuses, this prosperous post-war period, when France believed firmly in its greatness and its industrial power. A true epic, born in the workshops of Alstom in Belfort, from which the first train of the TGV 001 prototype came out in the fall of 1971. Half a century later, the orange power cars exhibited on the motorway are still used today. the pride of “Alsthommes”. All the more so as the future of this racing car which has transformed the country in depth continues to be written in its Belfort cradle. The Alstom teams are refining the TGV M of the future there, expected in 2024, which we are promised “more economical and more ecological”. Sign of a change of era, SNCF communication today no longer relates to the power and speed records of its machines, but to their carbon footprint. It is no longer a question of going even faster, but of driving always cleaner. The ability of Franche-Comté workers and engineers to take up the technological challenge is not in doubt. More uncertain is the ability of the public company to make this new generation TGV accessible to all budgets. The price jungle, the announcement of the upcoming removal of a Ouigo Nancy-Paris line, raise fears that many users will remain at the quayside. On the eve of opening up to competition in 2023, SNCF must correct its image and its prices if it wants to win back customers lost during the health crisis, to compensate for the shortfall created by the emergence of teleworking. The imminent arrival of new operators should also be an opportunity to improve small regional services, often neglected compared to main lines. If the TGV continues to fascinate, the prospect of a two-speed rail transport worries.
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