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Alstom AGV train running at 200 km/h on the testing circuit Cerhenice (Velim), the Czech Republic
Alstom AGV at Innotrans 2008

The Automotrice à grande vitesse (AGV) is an Alstom train intended as the successor to France’s TGV high-speed trains; the name stands for automotrice à grande vitesse, or ‘high-speed self-propelled carriage’. Instead of having separate power cars at either end of the train, as current TGVs do, the AGV will have distributed traction with motors under the floors of the passenger carriages. This is the arrangement used on many regular-speed multiple-unit trains and also high-speed trains such as the Siemens Velaro and Japan's Shinkansen trains. The space saved through not having a power car will enable the AGV to provide more seats.

Alstom offer the AGV in configurations from seven to fourteen carriages, with a total of 250-650 seats, depending on internal layout and number of carriages.[1] The commercial service speed will be 360 km/h (220 mph).[2] The AGV weighs less than its rivals which reduces its power consumption, and it consumes 30% less energy than previous TGV designs.[3]

The prototype was unveiled on 5 February 2008, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in attendance.[3]





The first customer for the AGV is Italian company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, Europe's first private open access high speed train operator. NTV has ordered 25 11-coach AGV trains in a contract announced on January 17, 2008.[4] They are planned to service in spring or early summer 2011, with the initial delivery in September 2010.[5]

Reports in January 2010 state that the AGV's Italian certification will be complete by mid-2011 with an entry into service later that year.[6]

NTV has signed a contract to build a maintenance depot in Nola near Naples for its fleet of 25 AGVs.[7]

Air France-KLM

The liberalisation of the European rail network from 2010 has led to several proposals for new services. Air France-KLM have proposed running a high speed rail service, in conjunction with Veolia, with plans between Paris and Amsterdam/London. Air France's plan would involve the lease or purchase of a number of AGV units.[8]


Pégase, a seven-car test AGV unit began trials at the Velim railway test circuit in the Czech Republic on 14 May 2008 for several months of testing and measurements.[9] All trials of the AGV at Velim were restricted to 210 km/h due to the architecture of the test track. Testing of Pégase at high speed then commenced on the LGV Est on 14 December 2008, including 360km/h runs.[10]

The test programme will continue in Italy from 14th of January 2010 to validate the Italian signalling and safety equipment required by launch customer NTV. The prototype AGV trainset will be equipped with LED lighting and a second in cab screen, providing the Italian SCMT data in addition to the standard ERMTS data. The test will initial run on the Roma–Firenze conventional line, then on the Rome–Naples high-speed railway and finally on the the Florence–Rome high-speed railway (the Direttissima) with maximum speeds of 335 km/h, 25 km/h short of the design top speed.[11]

Full European TSI certification for commercial use is not expected to be granted until 2010.[12]


  1. ^ "Alstom unveils AGV prototype train". Railway Gazette International. 2008-02-05.  
  2. ^ "AGV : Performance and modularity". Alstom. October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-07.  
  3. ^ a b "France unveils super-fast train". BBC News. 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  4. ^ "Alstom awarded Italian AGV contract". Railway Gazette International. 2008-01-17.  
  5. ^ "NTV announces ambitious service pattern in 2011". Railway Gazette International. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2009-01-22.  
  6. ^ Railway Gazette: AGV begins Italian test programme
  7. ^ NTV signs contract to build AGV depot July 02, 2009
  8. ^ 'An Airplane on Wheels': Air France Plans High-Speed Train Business - Der Spiegel, 09/09/08
  9. ^ Youtube – AGV on test track
  10. ^ "AGV tests reach 360 km/h". Railway Gazette International. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-12-11.  
  11. ^ "AGV begins Italian test programme". Railway Gazette International. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.  
  12. ^ "AGV begins dynamic testing". Railway Gazette International. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-06-26.  

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