FRANCE: On September 14 SNCF President Guillaume Pepy unveiled the ‘haute couture’ interiors of the TGV Océane, a build of 40 double-deck high speed trainsets ordered from Alstom at a cost of €1∙2bn to operate between Paris and southwestern France. From December 11 the first trainsets are due to be deployed on services to Bordeaux and Toulouse, with a total of 17 available for the opening of high speed infrastructure between Tours and Bordeaux on July 2 2017.

With a maximum speed of 320 km/h, each TGV Océane will have a total of 556 seats, 22% more than the current TGV Atlantique fleet, with 158 seats in first class and 398 in second. There are four wheelchair spaces, each equipped with a call button for summoning assistance.

New seat designs form a key part of interiors which aim to create a warm and relaxing travelling environment through the use of materials such as wood and leather. According to SNCF, interior lighting has been entirely rethought.

For the first time in France, first class passengers will be able to turn their seats to face the direction of travel. The new seat design is also intended to provide a ‘pleasant and practical’ working environment, featuring individual charging points as well as USB ports.

Second class passengers should also be able to make use of a ‘complete office’ on the move, thanks to larger seat-back tables, individual USB ports and one charging point per pair of seats. Free wi-fi will be available from July 2017, thanks to an onboard optic fibre backbone and lineside 4G coverage to be provided by Orange.

An onboard passenger information system will enable real-time journey information to be displayed, with a dedicated space for the train manager enabling passengers to obtain further information. Other onboard amenities include a ‘convivial and functional’ bar car, space to store luggage beneath seats, and improved facilities for passengers travelling with bicycles and small children.