TGV M seats (Photo: SNCF, Yann Audic)

SNCF unveils the TGV M INOUI’s new seats

TGV M seats Yann Audic

SNCF Voyageurs has unveiled the design of their new TGV M seats and lamps at Paris Design Week this month. These designs were proposed by the Japanese agency Nendo and AREP, a multidisciplinary consultancy firm wholly owned by SNCF. The Introduction of the first TGV M trains is scheduled for 2025.

This design team was selected after a call for tenders organised by the SNCF in 2018. The last time a project like this was SNCF was developing the TGV Duplex, in the early 90s, with French industrial designer Roger Tallon. These TGV seats are built to last at least 30 years, the entire life cycle of the train, and to be easier to maintain thanks to remote diagnostics.

Seat design

“Of all the interior fittings on a train, the seat is the one closest to the customer! It is also the most complex part of any interior design project”, stated David Goeres, Director of TGV M projects at SNCF on LinkedIn. “In itself, it represents a challenge because it must offer all the functions required for a pleasant journey, whatever the customer’s activities, adapt to all body shapes to offer optimum comfort, whatever the length of the journey, comply with all safety standards, which are stricter than those of the car and airline industries, and comply with all accessibility standards”, continues Goeres.

The new TGV M seats boast a “sober, welcoming, rounded and timeless design”, according to Goeres, and are made out of innovative materials, of which 90 per cent are recyclable. The trainsets overall will be 97 per cent recyclable. The use of composite materials makes them more lightweight than previous designs, helping to reduce the TGVM’s energy consumption. Overall, the TGV M’s energy consumption will be 20 per cent lower than the existing models.

Several seat models were put to the test by posture specialists and 125 customers with different morphologies. The 2nd class seat is more comfortable and yet ‘slimmer’, offering 5 centimetres more space for the knees, while the 1st class seats are 5 centimetres wider, for greater comfort. Additionally, the equipment that will evolve over time, such as lighting and USB sockets, are modular building blocks that can easily be changed to adapt to future standards.

Seats displayed at Paris Design Week (Photo: David Goeres, Director of TGV M projects at SNCF on LinkedIn)
Seats displayed at Paris Design Week (Photo: David Goeres, Director of TGV M projects at SNCF on LinkedIn)

Higher passenger capacity without sacrificing comfort

The TGV M will offer a higher passenger capacity of 740 individuals, in contrast to the current 630 on Océane trains. This increase in seating is distributed across nine cars instead of the current eight. This boost in capacity will not compromise passenger comfort, according to David Goeres. Indeed, it has been achieved through a series of innovations, maximising the train’s usable length, and making the trainset about 4 metres longer than existing models.

The placement of the main transformer beneath the locomotive also reduced the locomotive’s length by about 2 metres. The TGV M’s power car is the first to feature an under-body transformer. Furthermore, simplifications in the TGVM’s electrical architecture and the reduced space required for technical equipment allowed for an additional 2-metre reduction in locomotive length. This novel approach led to the creation of the TGVM “mini-train,” which is 20 per cent shorter than its predecessors. These electrical architecture optimizations also saved space.

Consequently, each TGVM carriage now boasts two passenger levels, resulting in a 15 per cent increase in passenger area compared to previous TGV Duplex models. This expansion has culminated in the addition of a ninth passenger carriage, achieved by fine-tuning the length of each carriage to conserve the necessary space. This new TGV, which can also be used for OUIGO trains, is also highly modular. New features include the possibility of quickly transforming 1st class into 2nd class and vice versa, interior fittings that can be reconfigured, and carriages that can accommodate a variable number of seats.

The Pre-Series 2 (PS2) trainset is officially the first TGV M trainset to run autonomously on the French rail network. (Photo: David Goeres, Director of TGV M projects at SNCF on LinkedIn)
The Pre-Series 2 (PS2) trainset is officially the first TGV M trainset to run autonomously on the French rail network. (Photo: David Goeres, Director of TGV M projects at SNCF on LinkedIn)

TGV M Timeline

The TGV M project partnership between Alstom and SNCF, to create the fifth generation of French high-speed trains, began in 2016. In 2018, SNCF Voyageurs placed an order with Alstom for 115 trainsets worth almost 3.5 billion euros. Of these 115 trainsets, 100 are destined for the French market and 15 for the European market. This is the largest order for high-speed trains ever placed by SNCF Voyageurs. The first trainset was presented at Alstom’s La Rochelle site last year, and the first tests took place on the Velim rail test site in the Czech Republic.

This year, trials on the French national rail network are finally underway. Two months ago, shunting tests were successfully conducted by TGV M test train no. 2 (PS2) in Plouaret, in the Côtes-d’Armor department of Brittany in northwestern France. Over 350 weeks of testing have already happened, and the trainsets will travel over a million kilometres before commercial release. The delivery of the TGV M trainset, in TGV INOUI colours, is planned for 2024. The TGV INOUI 2025 will be rolled out over ten years from 2025, and the first TGVs will be rolled out on the Paris-Lyon-Marseille high-speed line. The rest of the 115 trains ordered, including 15 destined for European markets, will be rolled out over the next decade.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at and

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