On Tuesday, Alstom unveiled the prototype of the
AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse), its latest, new generation high speed train. This single
deck, state-of-the-art train incorporates articulated carriages, a technology which contributed to the success of France’s
TGV train, and a new distributed drive system. The AGV has been designed to reach a commercial speed of 360 kph. The AGV already has its first customer:
Italy’s new railway operator, NTV.
The AGV is the first train in the world to feature an articulated architecture (with the bogies located between the carriages), a
solution which provides the highest levels of safety, combined with a distributed drive system (the train’s motors being located on the
bogies, under the train), an innovation which considerably increases the potential number of seats onboard the train by eliminating the need
for locomotives. This novel architecture will give operators great flexibility. They will be able to vary the length of their trains (from 7 to 14
carriages, and from 250 and 650 seats) depending on demand.
The AGV is
also environmentally friendly, with Alstom claiming a 15% lower energy consumption than its main competitors. It also incorporates the
latest ERTMS signalling standards so can run on all European lines. Alstom Transport’s sites in France (at La Rochelle, Ornans, Tarbes, Le
Creusot, Villeurbanne, Reichshoffen) and in Italy (at Bologna and Savigliano) will all be involved in producing the
The AGV’s novel traction system has already been tested under extreme conditions, since it was used in the train which set the world rail
speed record on 3 April 2007: 574.8 kph.
Kron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alstom, said, “We have developed this train using our own funds, a very unusual
approach in the railway industry, because we understood that the market for very high speed rail travel was about to diversify. In order to
maintain our leadership, we needed to broaden and update our range of products. The AGV has arrived on the market just at the time when
very high speed rail travel is undergoing a new expansion phase, not only in its traditional markets, but also in many developing
Over the past 25 years, Alstom has sold more than 650 TGV trains, becoming the world leader in this high technology field. Its trains have
carried nearly one and a half billion passengers over 2 billion km - or 6,500 times the distance from the Earth to the
Moon. Alstom recently won two major export orders from Argentina and Morocco for its TGV Duplex trains.
Italy’s new railway operator, NTV, has placed firm orders for 25 trains (with options for 10 more), and has signed a maintenance contract with
Alstom. Production of the first trains will begin in mid-2008, and they will be delivered from 2010
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