Travellers in France have been given a glimpse of what the TGV trains will look like in just a few a few years time - 2023 to be precise.
The “TGV of the future” or “TGV 2020” as it's being dubbed by France’s state-run SNCF rail service, is a more compact model than its predecessor, even though it does have double deck coaches.
It has a smaller engine allowing for room for an extra carriage (8 to 9 coaches) which in turn takes the maximum occupancy on a TGV from the current 556 passengers to 740.
The trains will be able to reach a top speed of 350 kph (220 mph).
It will also be possible to modify the trains for them to only have seven carriages. This added modularity will extend to the interiors, meaning that different carriages can be easily transformed into first or second class carriages, quiet spaces or entertainment areas.
French multinational Alstom, the train manufacturer favoured by the SNCF, is behind the design. The famed train manufacturer will have to put the first models on the tracks by 2023 and have a fleet of 100 fully functioning by 2031.
Officially named the Avelia Horizon, the state-of-the-art train will also have larger windows, a more advanced air conditioning system, improved accessibility through wider doors and a “concept bar” on each of its two levels.
The bill for taxpayer and state for each of these high-speed trains is reported to be 20 percent cheaper than for its predecessors, with the added perk that they consume 20 percent less fuel.
France has already agreed to pay a total of €2.7 billion for the fleet of 100 new TGV trains.