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System "SNCF
Status Operational
Locale "Île-de-France, "Grand Est,
Termini "Vaires-sur-Marne, "Île-de-France
"Vendenheim, "Grand Est
Stations 3
Opened Phase 1: 10 June 2007
Phase 2: 3 July 2016
Owner "SNCF Réseau
Operator(s) "SNCF
Line length 406 km (252 mi)
Number of tracks "Double track
"Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) "standard gauge
"Electrification "25 kV 50 Hz[1]
Operating speed 320 km/h (200 mph)
Route map
"Line from "Paris "Gare de l'Est
"Line to "Strasbourg
10.1 "LGV Interconnexion Est
38.3 "Meaux – "Reims
113.7 "Champagne-Ardenne TGV
114.7 "Épernay – "Reims
from "Châlons-en-Champagne
146.9 to "Laon
147.8 to "Verdun
213.5 "Meuse TGV
230.9 River "Meuse(603 m)
270.6 "Nancy – "Metz
Lorraine-Vandières TGV (proposed)
271.7 River "Moselle(1115 m)
281.3 "Lorraine TGV
from "Metz
"Baudrecourt junction
to "Strasbourg
"Line to "Saarbrücken
from "Nancy
Saverne tunnel(±4000 m)
406 "Line from "Nancy
"Line to "Strasbourg
French TGV network, with the LGV Est in brown running east from Paris

The Ligne à Grande Vitesse Est européenne (English: East European High Speed Line), typically shortened to LGV Est, is a French "high-speed rail line that connects "Vaires-sur-Marne (near "Paris) and "Vendenheim (near "Strasbourg). The line halved the travel time between Paris and Strasbourg and provides fast services between Paris and the principal cities of eastern France as well as "Luxembourg, "Germany, and "Switzerland. The LGV Est is a segment of the "Main line for Europe project to connect Paris with Budapest with high-speed rail service.

The line was built in two phases. Construction on the 300 km (190 mi) from "Vaires-sur-Marne to "Baudrecourt (near "Metz and "Nancy) began in 2004; the first phase entered into service in June 2007. Construction on the 106 km (66 mi) second phase from Baudrecourt to Vendenheim began in June 2010; the second phase opened to commercial service on 3 July 2016. Opening of the second phase was delayed after a train "derailed near Eckwersheim during commissioning trials, resulting in 11 deaths.

"A specially modified train performed a series of high-speed tests on the first phase of the LGV Est prior to its opening. In April 2007, "it reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h (159.6 m/s, 357.2 mph), becoming the "fastest conventional train and fastest train on a national rail system (as opposed to dedicated test track).[2][3]



The line passes through the "French regions of "Grand Est and "Île-de-France. The first 300 km (190 mi) section of this new route, linking "Vaires-sur-Marne near "Paris to "Baudrecourt in the Moselle, entered service on 10 June 2007. Constructed for speeds up to 350 km/h (220 mph), for commercial service it is initially operating at a maximum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph),[4] and was the fastest service in the world at average speed of 279.3 km/h (173.5 mph) between Lorraine and Champagne [5] until the "Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway opened in 2009. It is the first line in "France to travel at this maximum speed in commercial service, the first in France to use "ERTMS,[6] the new European rail signalling system and the first line also served by German "ICE trains.[7][8] The second phase includes the 4,200-metre (13,800 ft) "Saverne Tunnel.


Early proposals and planning[edit]

In 1969, Metz politician Raymond Mondon requested a study of a fast train from Paris to Strasbourg along the route of the planned "A4 autoroute.[9] In 1970-71, the "International Union of Railways (UIC, based on its French acronym) developed a master plan of fast intercity connections in continental Europe. Its connection between Paris and Strasbourg was very similar to the route of the LGV Est. The UIC master plan called for this line to be constructed shortly after Paris-Lyon and Paris-Brussels lines. In 1974, the director of SNCF confirmed that the company wanted to follow the UIC master plan.[10]:57

Germany, which was developing the "Transrapid "maglev system, was long reserved about the TGV system being developed by France. A 1975 study concluded that the passenger traffic to only "Alsace and "Lorraine would not be enough for the financial feasibility of the line. In 1982, recognizing German reluctance to extend the line into Germany, SNCF president André Chadeau announced that the company would not build the LGV Est without government subsidies.[10]:58 The following year, "Saverne engineer Charles Maetz convinced "MPs "Adrien Zeller and François Grussenmeyer to establish the East European TGV Association ("French: l'Association TGV Est-Européen), which managed to bring together local authorities to support the project.[9]

The LGV Est is a direct result of a project begun in 1985 with the establishment of a working group chaired by Claude Rattier and later by Philippe Essig. Their report provided the basis for preliminary design studies conducted in 1992-93.[11][12]:12 The initial 1980s plan extended along a corridor from Paris to Munich. However, the expected passenger traffic along this corridor was quite low, unlike Paris-Lyon and Paris-Brussels/London corridors, and a direct route crossed a region of eastern France far from any major urban area.["citation needed]

In 1986, MP Marc Reymann submitted to the government a route that shared a common trunk line between the "LGV Nord and LGV Est from Paris, through "Charles de Gaulle Airport, to "Soissons before forking into lines to Brussels (LGV Nord) and Strasbourg (LGV Est).[13] In 1988, the German government agreed to a rail line from Paris to "Frankfurt via "Saarbrücken.[10]:68

The following year, Philippe Essig presented the route that would later be built and at the same time addressed the other problem: financing. This route, further north than previous proposals, served Reims and Strasbourg. In order to avoid offending the cities of Nancy and Metz, which share an ancient rivalry, and avoid problems encountered during the construction of the A4 autoroute twenty years earlier, this route traveled directly to Strasbourg and passed midway between Nancy and Metz, where "a single station would be built to serve both towns and improve relations between them.["citation needed]

Financing of this proposal called for contributions from local governments—a first in France for construction of a high-speed line—and the "Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This was a favorable financial arrangement for SNCF due to low ridership projections and because the population of the towns served were below a threshold for building a high-speed line. The complexity of financing resulted in the long delay of the project. Under the government of "Pierre Beregovoy (French Prime Minister from 1992-1993), the government refused to contribute more than 25 billion "francs to the project, and limited the route to Baudrecourt, to which the Alsace region threatened to withdraw its financial contribution to the project. After long delays under the successive governments, all wanting to limit the cost of the project, a two-phase project was finally accepted by all parties, provided that commitments were made for the quick completion of the second phase.[14]

Approval and launch of the project[edit]

On 1 April 1992, the project was added to the master plan of high-speed lines, in which it was classified as a priority project.[11] On 22 May 1992, France and Germany agreed to a Franco-German high-speed line consisting of a northern branch through Saarbrücken and "Mannheim and a southern branch through Strasbourg and "Karlsruhe. The same year a similar "memorandum of understanding was signed between the transport ministers of France and Luxembourg.[11] At the "European Council "meeting in Essen in 1994, the LGV Est project was reaffirmed as a priority trans-European transport project.[11]

The expected socio-economic benefits of the LGV project was lower than other ongoing high-speed rail projects: "LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire and "LGV Bordeaux–Toulouse.[15] The line is redundant to three existing rail lines: "Paris to Strasbourg, "Paris to Mulhouse, and the combined Ligne de Trilport à Bazoches (fr) and Reims-Metz (fr) lines.[12]:18 Additionally, the international potential of the planned line seemed low, as Germany had little interest in the development of high-speed lines,[16] favored domestic north-south axes, and due to the competition between SNCF and "Deutsche Bahn.[17]

The decision to build the line is politically motivated by fostering European integration, serving the "European institutions in Strasbourg, and geographical balance of French high-speed rail lines, following the construction of high-speed lines from Paris to the southeast ("LGV Sud-Est, "LGV Rhône-Alpes, & "LGV Méditerranée), the southwest ("LGV Atlantique), and north ("LGV Nord).["citation needed]

A "public inquiry was conducted in 1994.[11] The following year, a report conducted at the request of the Transport Minister advocated a complete redesign of the project, with an endpoint of the line at "Épernay and from there onwards the adaptation of the existing Paris-Strasbourg line to accommodate high-speed "tilting trains.[18] In Nancy, which this route favored, this route was championed locally by Gérard Lignac, director of the "L'Est Républicain newspaper.[19] Although a budget was not completed and the planned phasing of the project was opposed by Lorraine and Alsace,[20] the "déclaration d'utilité publique was signed on 14 May 1996,[21] two days before the deadline after which a new public inquiry would have been required.["citation needed]

A protocol for the construction and financing of the LGV Est was signed between the national government, RFF, SNCF, and local governments.[11] The financing agreement for the first phase of the line from Vaires-sur-Marne to Baudrecourt was signed on 7 December 2000 between the numerous partners in the project, including 17 local governments.[11] On 18 December 2003, the "Jean-Pierre Raffarin government announced that it would proceed with several TGV projects, including construction of the second phase of the LGV Est, which would begin in 2010.["citation needed] On 24 January 2007, the financial arrangements for studies and preparatory work for the second phase of the line from Baudrecourt to Strasbourg was signed.[22]


Construction of the line was divided into two phases. The first phase traverses 300 km (190 mi) of relatively flat land from "Vaires-sur-Marne (20 km (12 mi) east of Paris) to "Baudrecourt (between "Metz and "Nancy), where it intersects the "Metz–Saarbrücken and Paris-Strasbourg rail lines.[23][24] Construction on the first phase began in 2002 and it entered into service in 10 June 2007. Until the completion of the second phase, TGV trains continued from here towards Strasbourg on the Paris-Strasbourg rail line.[24] The second phase traversed 106 km (66 mi) of rougher terrain from Baudrecourt to "Vendenheim, on the northern edge of the Strasbourg metropolitan area. Construction on the second phase began in August 2010 and it entered service on 3 July 2016.["citation needed]

Between the opening of the first and second phases, trains from Strasbourg, Colmar, and southern Germany travelled along the classic Paris-Strasbourg line until "Réding, then the Réding–Metz railway (fr) to join the LGV Est at Baudrecourt. However, trains from Nancy and "Sarrebourg traveled along the Paris-Strasbourg line until "Frouard, then took the Frouard–Novéant railway (fr) to join the LGV Est at "Vandières.["citation needed]

Besides the construction of the LGV, the project includes:

Journey times have decreased as follows:

From To Original Time First Phase Second Phase
"Paris "Strasbourg 4h 00 2h 20 1h 50
"Paris "Reims 1h 35 0h 45 -
"Paris "Sedan 2h 50 2h 00 -
"Paris "Charleville-Mézières 2h 30 1h 35 -
"Paris "Nancy 2h 45 1h 30 -
"Paris "Metz 2h 45 1h 25 -
"Paris "Luxembourg 3h 55 2h 05 -
"Luxembourg "Strasbourg 2h 17 - 1h 35[25]
"Paris "Basel 4h 55 3h 20 -
"Paris "Zürich 5h 50 4h 35 -
"Paris "Frankfurt 6h 15 3h 50 3h 40
"Paris "Stuttgart 6h 10 3h 40 3h 10
"Paris "Saarbrücken 4h 00 1h 50 -

Phase one[edit]

Earthworks for the first phase between "Vaires-sur-Marne and "Baudrecourt started in spring 2002. The contractors took three years to complete the earthworks and some 327 pieces of structural work as well as re-establishing communications for people and wildlife. Tracklaying and building the new stations started in 2004.

As the first infrastructure project of its kind to be "declared a public utility by the Ministry of the Environment, the LGV Est is also the first railway to be financed largely by the French regions and the "European Union (EU). The main contractor for the project is RFF ("Réseau ferré de France), the state-owned company responsible for managing the French rail infrastructure.

Civil engineering works were distributed in eight contracts which were awarded after bidding by five companies: "SNCF, ISL, "Tractebel, "Scétauroute and "Setec. This is the first time there has been competition for the construction of a "TGV line since reform of the rail system in 1997 and the involvement of RFF. "SNCF Engineering, in partnership with EEG Simecsol succeeded in obtaining four of the contracts (including one for the second phase), this being 50% of the civil engineering project. Moreover, it directed the entire superstructure works project (track, "signals and electrification) under the responsibility of "Réseau Ferré de France.

Illustration of the alignment of the second phase of the LGV Est.

On 9 June 2007, the TGV Est made its inaugural voyage, leaving from the Gare de l'Est at 7:36am. Notable passengers included: "François Fillon, the French Prime Minister, "Alain Juppé, the Minister of Sustainable Development, and the Argentinian Ambassador to France. The Prime Minister hailed this event as "a beautiful symbol of the capacity of our country to innovate when it is united, a symbol of European "France, of the knowledge of French businesses, and a symbol that gives confidence in the future." He hailed this achievement as "a union by train between "France and its "German, "Luxembourgish, and "Swiss partners, between the "European institutions and the [French] capital."

Phase two[edit]

On 2 September 2009, infrastructure manager RFF announced the tendering for the second phase. Financing was finalized on 1 September 2009, with a mix of sources ranging from the French and "Luxembourgish governments, regional governments, the EU, and RFF.[26] The full line was planned to open on 3 April 2016,[27] but that opening was delayed to July 3 by a major accident during testing of the line.[28] Until then, "TGV ran between these two cities via the existing "Metz-"Strasbourg line at the 160 km/h normal speed for the line.

The final weld of rails on the second phase took place on 31 March 2015 and was accompanied by a ceremony marking the end of construction of Phase 2, although work on signaling continued.[27] The opening of the second phase had been scheduled for 3 April 2016, but was delayed after "a train derailed near Eckwersheim during commissioning trials, resulting in 11 deaths and damage to a bridge on the line.[28] The line opened on 3 July 2016.[29]

World speed record[edit]

A series of high speed trials, named Operation V150, were conducted on the LGV Est prior to its June 2007 opening using a specially modified train. The trials were conducted jointly by "SNCF, TGV builder "Alstom, and LGV Est owner "Réseau Ferré de France between 15 January 2007 and 15 April 2007. Following a series of increasingly high speed runs, the official speed record attempt took place on 3 April 2007.[30][31] The top speed of 574.8 km/h (159.6 m/s, 357.2 mph) was reached at kilometre point 191 near the village of Le Chemin, between the "Meuse and "Champagne-Ardenne TGV stations, where the most favourable profile exists.

The 515.3 km/h speed record of 1990 was unofficially broken multiple times during the test campaign that preceded and followed the certified record attempt, the first time on 13 February 2007 with a speed of 554.3 km/h, and the last time on 15 April 2007 with a speed of 574.8 km/h.

Construction financing[edit]

The total cost was about €4 billion, apportioned as follows:


The LGV Est was a subject of public debate for several reasons:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RFF - Map of electrified railway lines" (PDF). 
  2. ^ Matsuda, Kiyotaka (20 April 2015). "World's Fastest Train Records Speed of 375 Miles Per Hour". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 July 2016. The speed record for a train running on a national railway system, rather than a test track, remains in the hands of conventional rail, with a modified version of an Alstom SA TGV model reaching 575 kmph in France in 2007. 
  3. ^ "Fastest train on a national rail system". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2 July 2016. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Colin Taylor (September 2007). "TGV Est lifts the record" (PDF). "Railway Gazette International. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "Premiernfahrt nach Paris" (in German). Deutsche Bahn AG. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  8. ^ Staff writer (2006). Die Bahn am Ball (in German). Deutsche Bahn AG. p. 96. 
  9. ^ a b Schontz, André (1990). Le chemin de fer et la gare de Metz (in French). Editions Serpenoise. p. 205. "ISBN "2876920611. 
  10. ^ a b c Felten, Arsène; Schontz, André (2007). Le TGV-Est (in French). Éditions Serpenoise. "ISBN "9782876927261. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Des études préliminaires à la convention de financement (Report) (in French). LGV Est. Archived from the original on 19 March 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2007. 
  12. ^ a b Bilan LOTI de la LGV Est européenne phase 1 (PDF) (Report) (in French). Réseau Ferré de France. May 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Assemblée Nationale: 3e séance du mardi 28 octobre 1986" (PDF). Journal Official de la République française: Débats parlementaires (in French). 94 (3): 5435. 1986. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "TGV Est-européen - Paris-Strasbourg en 2h20" [East European TGV - Paris-Strasbourg in 2 hours, 20 minutes]. La Vie du rail magazine (in French). La Vie du rail. June 2007. 
  15. ^ Fève, Michel. "Le financement des trains à grande vitesse (TGV)" (in French). French government. Archived from the original on 29 April 2001. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Essig, Philippe (1997). "Le concept TGV, des origines au TGV pendulaire" [The high speed train concept, from the origins to the pendular system] (PDF). Les Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport. 32 (in French). Association Française des Instituts de Transport et de Logistique: 39. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-07-03. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "L'avenir du réseau européen à grande vitesse" (PDF). École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (in French). February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2005. 
  18. ^ [2]["dead link]
  19. ^ Lignac, Gerard (September 1999). "Commentaires du President Gerard Lignac" (PDF). L'Est Républicain. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2008. 
  20. ^ Zembrilien, Pierre (1997). "Les fondements de la remise en cause du Schéma Directeur des liaisons ferroviaires à grande vitesse : des faiblesses avant tout structurelles". "Annales de Géographie (in French). 106 (593): 183–194. Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  21. ^ "Décret du 14 mai 1996 déclarant d'utilité publique et urgents les travaux de construction d'une ligne nouvelle de chemin de fer à grande vitesse dite « T.G.V.-Est européen » entre Paris et Strasbourg, de création des gares nouvelles et d'aménagement des installations terminales de ladite ligne, ainsi que portant mise en compatibilité des plans d'occupation des sols des communes concernées". Journal officiel de la République Française. 113 (in French). Paris: Imprimerie Nationale: 7320. 15 May 1996. 
  22. ^ Doyen, Fernand (25 January 2007). "Un financement pour la deuxième phase". L’Est Républicain (in French). Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. 
  23. ^ "RFF attribue le marché du Tunnel de Saverne" (PDF). BG-21.com (in French). Réseau Ferée de France. 14 July 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "L'amenagement des infrastructures existantes". Trains-En-Voyage (in French). 10 August 2007. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  25. ^ "Catch a TGV from Luxembourg to Strasbourg & Marseille". "Luxemburger Wort. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  26. ^ DVV Media UK. "LGV Est Phase 2 tendering gets underway". "Railway Gazette. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  27. ^ a b c "LGV Est Phase 2 completed". Railway Gazette. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  28. ^ a b c "La ligne à grande vitesse Paris-Strasbourg sera mise en service le 3 juillet" (in French). Le Monde. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  29. ^ "LGV Est Phase 2 opening completes Paris – Strasbourg high speed line". Railway Gazette. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  30. ^ "Associated Press (3 April 2007). "French Train Hits 357 MPH Breaking World Speed Record". Fox News. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  31. ^ "Official 2007 Record Website". Record2007.com. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  32. ^ "LGV Est Européenne | SNCF Réseau". Lgv-est.com. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  33. ^ "LGV Est Européenne | SNCF Réseau". Lgv-est.com. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  34. ^ "French TGV breaks world speed record". Expatica. 14 February 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  35. ^ "EU allocates TEN-T infrastructure funds". Railway Gazette. 29 October 2009. 
  36. ^ "Work starts on LGV Est Phase 2". 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  37. ^ a b "Saverne Tunnel holed through on LGV Est". Railway Gazette. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  38. ^ Bach, Christian; Poivret, Aurélien (14 November 2015). "Une rame d'essai d'un TGV se renverse et prend feu à Eckwersheim, près de Strasbourg : cinq morts". Dernieres Nouvelles D'Alsace (in French). 

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