TGV M, the fifth generation of high-speed train ordered by French National Railways (SNCF), is now due to enter service in the second half of 2025 on the Paris - Lyon line.

The revised timescale was confirmed on April 29 when Alstom and SNCF Voyageurs unveiled the first TGV M in the new livery developed for the fleet, which is branded as TGV Inoui by SNCF. This took place at the Alstom plant in Belfort in eastern France, responsible for building the TGV M power cars.

SNCF has ordered 115 double-deck TGV M trains from Alstom, with 100 to be deployed on domestic services and 15 on cross-border routes, starting with Paris - Milan.

Deliveries were expected to begin at the start of this year at a rate of one train a month, with the aim of the TGV M entering service by December on the Paris - Lyon route. However, deliveries are running behind schedule due to delays in delivering batteries for the emergency power supply system from subcontractor Saft.

The TGV M began acceptance trials for operation on the French national network in January, which are due to conclude in July. Successful completion will then enable the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) to grant the Authorisation to Place on the Market (APOM) that is required for the new train to enter passenger service.

Four test trains and the first production TGV M are being used for the acceptance trials, conducted at up to 320km/h to test performance under conditions including when operating in multiple or with reduced power, under varying weather conditions and on specific sections of the network.

The trials are also verifying the dynamic behaviour of the new train, its electromagnetic compatibility, traction and braking performance and noise levels during operation. The programme is being conducted by the rolling stock engineering department of SNCF Voyageurs, working with Alstom, infrastructure manager SNCF Network, and national rail safety authority EPSF.

The new TGV Inoui livery and the train interiors have been designed by French agency Arep working with Nendo of Japan. Alstom and SNCF Voyageurs say the understated and timeless design concept featuring a very light palette of grey and white with superimposed rounded forms evokes the comfort of the TGV Inoui travel experience.

The light colours should also cut down solar gain and reduce the amount of energy consumed by train air-conditioning systems during periods of strong sunshine.

The passenger doors are picked out in French Berry red, acting as an invitation to board and discover the interior space. Instead of using vinyls, the entire livery is painted, which is more durable and will reduce the time required for refurbishment work.

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