In July we reported on Alstom’s future high-speed Avelia trainset which has been ordered by France’s SNCF.

At that time few details were available on how SNCF would use its duplex TGV M (M is for modular) or how it would arrange the interior.

Further details have now emerged in Railway Gazette International (registration required).

SNCF plans to have its TGV M in service from 2024 in time for the Paris Olympics.

Trials should start in 2021 and the plan is to have all 100 trainsets in service by 2031.

This new generation of high-speed trains will have a flexible layout. Its advantage means SNCF (or other operators who might place orders with Alstom) can easily change the seating from a regular to a tighter configuration or vice versa.

It means that, whereas a TGV M deployed for a regular In Oui TGV would accommodate 600 passengers, for Ouigo (SNCF’s budget TGV) it could hold as many as 740 passengers.

This capacity remains below that of a Siemens’ Eurostar trainset which can accommodate 900 passengers, but which has the disadvantage of having more coaches (and hence a longer trainset making it not so easy to service).

Besides facilities like onboard internet, mobile connectivity, etc, Railway Gazette reports of two other features:

  • TGV M will have a duplex or double-deck bar with seating upstairs and the serving area downstairs. The first time I believe that any high-speed operator has devised such a layout
  • The ability for TGV M to operate internationally. Although intended initially for France’s domestic routes, some sets may be modified to operate into Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain (as do certain TGVs already).

Before any readers ask whether or not TGV M  will come to the UK, note that only specific trains are allowed to transit the Tunnel and this currently is not one of them.

Finally from SNCF’s viewpoint TGV M will be cost less to build and operate. It’s lighter than existing TGVs and more power efficient.,