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The day in numbers: 25 years

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25 years: The final joint in a new $3.7 billion high-speed railway line linking France and Germany will be welded in place on Wednesday to celebrate the quarter of a century anniversary of France's revolutionary TGV (Train a grande vitesse) high-speed train.

  • The first TGV ran between Paris and Lyon on Sept. 22, 1981 after being unveiled by French President Francois Mitterrand. A 666-kilometer (414-mile) journey from Paris to Marseille takes just three hours. In the UK an equivalant journey (London to the admittedly less enticing destination of Aberdeen) takes seven hours.
  • On Monday French rail operators SNCF tested TGV trains on a Mediterranean line with a cruising speed of 362 kilometers per hour (225 mph). Trains currently travel up to 321 kph (200 mph).
  • The TGV network covers 2,010 kilometers (1,250 miles) of track with around 400,000 people using the trains daily for work.
  • In 1990 a TGV set the world speed record for a conventional train at 515.3 kph (320.2 mph). Only Maglev trains in Japan have achieved faster speeds -- including the overall record for railed vehicles of 581 kph (361 mph) .
  • Railway historian Clive Lamming says: "The TGV is Concorde plus commercial success."
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    The TGV: the world's fastest conventional train for 25 years.

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