Referat la limba engleza - A QUICK TGV PRIMER referat


The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) is the French high speed train. Of course, there is no such thing as the TGV; there are many significant differences among the 350-odd trainsets in service today, and the name TGV refers to much more than just the trains. Indeed, the TGV is a system which comprises train, track, and signalling technologies that when combined make high speeds (typically 300 km/h, or 186 mph) possible. The TGV system is owned and operated by SNCF, the French national railways, and is an integral part of French rail travel.

Historical Overview

The TGV program was launched in the late 1960s. In its early stages, the program was considered a technological dead end. Conventional wisdom at the time held that steel wheel on steel rail technology had been explored and understood to its fullest, and it was time to move on to more innovative technologies like magnetic levitation and jet-powered hovertrains. As a result, the project did not originally receive any government funding.

SNCF's idea for the TGV was to develop a high speed rail system that remained compatible with the existing railway infrastructure. This had the important benefit of allowing high speed trains to use existing facilities in the heart of many cities, where building any new tracks or stations would have been prohibitively expensive. Another advantage was the possibility of running TGV trains to many destinations over existing trackage, after a high speed dash on a dedicated trunk line. Clark Kent on conventional track, and Superman on special dedicated track. Finally, having a high speed rail system that fully integrates into the existing rail network makes it possible to build new high speed lines gradually, opening them section by section.

The first prototype train, the TGV 001, started an extensive testing program in the early 70's. images/proto/tgv001vsg.jpg

 images/proto/tgv001vsg.jpgThe TGV 001 (photo by Jean-Paul Lescat) was powered by a gas turbine, and on 8 December 1972, it set the world speed record for a train in autonomous traction, at 318 km/h (198 mph). This record still stands, 23 years later. (The world's fastest diesel train is a Russian TEP80 locomotive, with 273 km/h (147 mph). The TGV 001 made more than 175 runs at speeds in excess of 300 km/h (186 mph) and along with other prototype trains provided valuable engineering data for the development of the production TGV. A more detailed history can be found elsewhere in these pages.

A completely new line was built beginning in the late seventies, running from Paris most of the way to Lyon. On 27 September 1981, the first section of the line was opened to revenue service by president François Mitterrand, and the streamlined, bright orange trains became instant celebrities. It helped that just a few months before, one of the new trainsets had smashed the world speed record (held since 1955 by a pair of French electric locomotives) with a run at 380 km/h (236 mph).

The new TGV was incredibly successful, and gutted the Paris-Lyon airline business. It became one of the few parts of SNCF that turned a significant profit, and completely payed for itself (including construction costs) in only a decade. The French government, faced with this success, hailed the new system and offered its backing for further development of the nascent high speed rail network. The TGV had become a technological symbol associated with France.

Since then, new TGV lines and trains have been built, and improvements made with each generation. In 1989, the TGV Atlantique made its debut, serving points west of Paris. The trains incorporated many improvements over the earlier Sud-Est generation, a sign of the continuing research and development being conducted by SNCF and its contractors. Most notably, the 1981 record was pushed to 515.3 km/h (320.3 mph) on 18 May 1990, using the newer generation equipment. This is also the subject of other documents in these pages.

Today, there are three major trunk lines radiating out of Paris, the most recent one being the Nord-Europe line, opened in 1993 and connects Paris to Lille, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Britain through the Channel tunnel. Extensions continue to be built, although budgetary constraints have slowed the momentum of the TGV expansion.

TGV technology has been a contender in many export ventures, to Spain (operating), South Korea (under construction), the United States (awarded), Taiwan (awarded), China, etc. TGV trains now visit many parts of Europe, including Germany, Britain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

What Makes the Train Special?

Looking at the train itself, the most striking aspect, to the newcomer, is the aerodynamic styling of the nose. But that is not where the innovation lies. Perhaps the most interesting feature of a TGV trainset is its articulation. The cars are not merely coupled together; instead, they are semi-permanently attached to each other, with the ends of two adjacent cars resting on a common two-axle truck. It is thus more appropriate to speak of 'trailers' than of 'cars'.


There are several good reasons for this design. Perhaps the most obvious is that the TGV was designed from the beginning to be a very lightweight train; even with an axle load limit of only 17 metric tons, it made sense to reduce the number of axles. Placing the wheels between the trailers also reduces interior noise levels, provides more space and a higher plane for the suspension, and improves aerodynamics (due to the lower height and small inter-trailer gaps). Articulation of the train also allows adjacent trailers to be dynamically coupled by dampers, and makes possible a clean, quiet passage from one trailer to the next. Articulation has also proved to be an important safety feature, preventing TGV trains from jack-knifing in a collision as a conventional train might.

TGV trainsets are essentially symmetric and reversible, with a locomotive, also called power unit or power car, coupled at each end. the trailing power unit collects power from the overhead electric catenary, and feeds power to the leading power unit through a cable running along the roof of the train. This single-pantograph arrangement prevents one pantograph from disturbing the wire and thus disrupting the contact for the following pantographs. The pantographs themselves are among the most sophisticated, some featuring active damping.

The brakes are suited for running at high speed. They are capable of dissipating a very large amount of energy. The locomotives each have dynamic brakes, in addition to brake shoes for emergency stops. The trailers are equipped with four disks per axle, and in some cases backup brake shoes. Future models might include magnetic induction track brakes.

Another innovation in the TGV system is the exclusive use of in-cab signalling for high speed running. TGV lines do not have lineside signals; they are too difficult to read at speed. All signalling information is transmitted to the train through the rails, and appears to the engineer in the cab. In general, TGV trainsets are heavily computerized, and many important functions are controlled digitally.

What Makes the Tracks Special?

Dedicated TGV lines use no special technology-- just welded rails laid on hybrid steel and concrete ties, over a thicker than usual bed of ballast. The greatest difference lies in the combination of curve radii and superelevation that make high speed possible; a 5 km (3 mi) radius would be considered tight. The track centers are spaced further apart than usual, to reduce the blast of two crossing trains. Signalling blocks measure 1500 m (5000 ft) and certain lines allow one train every three minutes. The catenary is of completely standard design, essentially identical to 25 kV equipment on other French lines. The track and catenary are aligned and tuned specially for high speed.

Safety, as usual in railways, is a top concern. High speed lines are completely fenced off, and grade separated. Rolling stock is maintained in top condition. The TGV safety record speaks for itself; there have been no casualties in 17 years of daily operation at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). That is not to say there have not been incidents... The most spectacular of which was the December 1993 derailment of a TGV-Réseau trainset, at a speed of 294 km/h (183 mph). This, and all other major incidents, are detailed elsewhere in these pages.

More background about the TGV and its context in railway history can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

What's in These Pages

For more specific information regarding the various aspects of the TGV program as described above, go back to the table of contents and select the topic you wish to explore in more depth.

Last modified: Sat Mar 28 11:36:54 PST 1998


THE IDEA of a high speed train in France was born about 20 years before the first TGVs entered service. At that time, about 1960, a radical new concept was thought up; combining very high speeds and steep grades would allow a railway to follow the contours of existing terrain, like a gentle roller-coaster. Instead of 1 or 2 percent grades which would be considered steep in normal applications, up to 4 percent would be feasible, thus allowing more flexible (and cheaper) routing of new lines. Over the next several years, this very general idea gave rise to a variety of high speed transportation concepts, which tended to move away from conventional wheel on rail vehicles. Indeed, the French government at the time favored more "modern" air-cushioned or maglev trains, such as Bertin's AeroTrain. Steel wheel on rail was (wrongly) considered a dead-end technology, the ugly duckling of the quest for higher speeds.

Simultaneously, SNCF (the French national railways) was trying to raise the speeds of conventional trains into the range 180 to 200 km/h (110 to 125 mph) for non-electrified sections, by using gas turbines for propulsion. Energy was reasonably cheap in those years, and gas turbines (originally designed for helicopters) were a compact and efficient way to fulfill requirements for more power. Following on the TGS prototype in 1967, SNCF introduced gas turbine propulsion with the ETG (Elément à Turbine à Gaz, or Gas Turbine Unit) turbotrains in Paris - Cherbourg service, in March 1970.

The desire for higher speeds and the successful development of the turbotrain program are two ideas that came together in the late 1960s, further spurred on by the 1964 start of the Japanese Shinkansen high speed train. They were embodied in a joint program between SNCF and industry to explore the possibility of a high speed gas turbine unit. The project, initiated in 1967, was entitled "Rail Possibilities on New Infrastructures" and was code-named C03.

The experimental X4300 TGS railcar, predecessor of the ETG, had been tested at speeds up to 252 km/h (157 mph) in October of 1971, and gave promising results. Since the very high speed lines envisioned by SNCF called for speeds of 250 km/h to 300 km/h (186 mph), SNCF had Alsthom-Atlantique build a special high speed turbotrain prototype to test out some concepts in high speed rail. Thus was born the turbotrain TGV (Très Grande Vitesse, or Very High Speed) 001.


The TGV 001 Turbotrainimages/proto/tgv001vsg.jpg


The TGV 001 turbotrain was a test train for a vast research program encompassing traction, vehicle dynamics, braking, aerodynamics, signalling, and other technologies that needed to be developed to allow higher speeds. Only one was ever built, although it was originally planned to build a second version equipped with an active tilt system. The studies for the tilting version were completed, but it never reached construction because of technical difficulties with fitting the tilt system.

The TGV 001 consisted of two power cars with three trailers in between, the whole trainset permanently coupled together. All axles were powered by electric motors, with the advantage of low axle loads and a high power to weight ratio. Electric traction also made possible dynamic braking, especially effective at high speeds. Each power car had a pair of turbines (the TURMO IIIG and then the TURMO X, used in Sud Aviation's Super Frelon helicopter) which ran at constant speed. They were connected to a reductor stage, whose output shaft drove an alternator. Besides the turbine drive, the power cars had control gear for the traction motors, dynamic brake grids, signalling and braking equipment, etc.

The TGV001 was articulated, with adjacent vehicles riding on a common truck. This afforded a greater stability (by coupling the dynamics of carbodies) and made space for a pneumatic secondary suspension placed level with the center of gravity, thus reducing roll in curves.


Consist: Turbine + 1st class + lab car + 2nd class + turbine
Length: 92.90 m
Width: 2.81 m
Height: 3.40 m
Truck wheelbase: 2.60 m
Truck centers: 14.00 m (power car) and 18.30 m (trailers)
Weight: 192,000 kg
Power: 3760 kW (TURMO III) and 4400 kW (TURMO X)
Top Speed: 280 km/h (TURMO III) and 300 km/h (TURMO X)
Range: 1100 km
Fuel capacity: 8000 lPLAN AND ELEVATION VIEWS (1000 x 1500 pixels)

In 5227 test runs covering almost half a million kilometers, the TGV 001 turbotrain exceeded 300 km/h (186 mph) on 175 runs and reached a top speed of 318 km/h (198 mph) on 08 December 1972. This was (and still is) the world speed record for a non-electric train. The TGV 001 test campaign was an invaluable part of project C03, proving new concepts in a realistic environment and giving extensive engineering data on high speed operation.

Electric Powerimages/proto/z7001.jpg


With the oil crisis of 1974, it no longer seemed economically viable to power the future high speed train with fossil fuels. The requirements were changed to fully electric operation, which resulted in an extensive redesign and test program. In April of 1974, the Z7001 experimental electric railcar, nicknamed "Zébulon", began trials. Zébulon was rebuilt from the Z7115, [Images] which had been wrecked. Using this vehicle, the new Y226 long-wheelbase power truck (precursor of the Y230 [Image] of the production TGV) was developed and tested, with its body-mounted traction motors and tripod cardan transmission. Body mounting of the traction motors was a major innovation; it allowed a considerable (3300 kg) reduction in the mass of the power truck, giving it a very high critical speed and exceptional tracking stability. Zébulon also served to develop a two-stage high speed pantograph, which later became the AM-PSE pantograph of the TGV Sud-Est, as well as a new type of eddy current rail brake. The eddy current rail brake exerts a magnetic retention effort, without ever making contact with the rail. The promise of high efficiency and low wear was however outweighed by problems with overheating in the rail, and the design was dropped. Zébulon's suspension, of a non-pneumatic design, gave full satisfaction so it was adopted for the new high speed train, instead of the TGV 001's pneumatic suspension.

Over a period of 20 months, Zébulon racked up almost a million kilometers, 25000 of which were run at speeds over 300 km/h (186 mph). The highest speed reached by Zébulon was 309 km/h (192 mph). Prospects were good for project C03, which was fully funded by the French government in 1976. Construction of an electric high speed line from Paris to Lyon began soon after.

Styling: Something New and Different

The styling of the original TGV, inside and out, is due to industrial designer Jack Cooper. He was born in Britain in 1931, before moving to France. In the mid 1950s, he spent several years working under American designer Raymond Loewy, whose most famous designs included the Pennsylvania Railroad's GG-1 electric locomotive [Images]. As early as 1968, when he began working for Alsthom, Jack Cooper was asked to draw up a "train that didn't look like a train".

He designed the TGV 001 turbotrain's look, inside and out, and soon thereafter the TGV design was born. As early as 1975, Cooper was drawing trains that looked surprisingly like the TGV Duplex of twenty years later! While Cooper's design for the train's exterior was immediately accepted, he was sent back to the drawing board numerous times while trying to come up with the interior design, which included everything from seats to door handles.

The many design requirements were sometimes in conflict, and Cooper had to find an optimal solution. The interior spaces had to be welcoming and comfortable, restful, quiet, easy to clean and fix, and smoothly integrated together to create a uniform atmosphere. Comfort was to be made accessible to all passengers while retaining a certain status and flair. The overarching aim was to design an interior space that was both relaxing and enjoyable.

By the late seventies, the design of the first TGV was complete. The first batch of production trainsets was ordered on 4 November 1976. Over the next twenty years, over 600 copies of Cooper's world-famous TGV nose would be built.

Last Minute Problems

On 28 July 1978, two pre-production TGV trainsets left the Alsthom factory in Belfort. These would later become TGV Sud-Est trainsets 01 and 02, but for testing purposes they had been nicknamed "Patrick" and "Sophie", after their radio callsigns. In the following months of testing, over 15,000 modifications were made to these trainsets, which were far from trouble-free. High speed vibration was a particularly difficult problem to root out: the new trains were not at all comfortable at cruising speed! The solution was slow in coming, and slightly delayed the schedule. Eventually it was found that inserting rubber blocks under the primary suspension springs took care of the problem. Other difficulties with high speed stability of the trucks were overcome by 1980, when the first segment of the new line from Paris to Lyon was originally supposed to open. The first production trainset, number 03, was delivered on 25 April 1980.jpg/TGV29.JPG


Delivery of an order for 87 TGV trainsets was well underway in 1981, when trainset 16 was used for a very publicized world record run, code-named operation TGV 100 (for a target speed of 100 meters per second, or 360 km/h). The target was exceeded on 26 February 1981, when trainset 16 reached a speed of 380 km/h (236 mph) in perfect safety. This was quite in contrast with the previous record, set on 28 March 1955 by a pair of French electric locomotives, the CC 7107 [Image] and the BB 9004 [Image]. In those record attempts, which some would call suicidal, the track was severely damaged and the trains came dangerously close to derailing. (See image collection for track damage.)

On 27 September 1981, to great fanfare, the first TGV with paying passengers left Paris after the inauguration by French president François Mitterrand. Thus began the long tradition of high speed ground transportation in France.

More Pictures...

...of TGV test vehicles can be had here in the TGV pages or in the Mercurio Picture Gallery.

Thanks to Yann Nottara ( and Mark Williams ( for providing some of this information; TGV001 photo by Jean-Paul Lescat (

Last modified: Sat Mar 28 09:34:26 PST 1998

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TGV PSE (Paris Sud-Est)
Build dates: 1978-1985
Territory: LGV Sud-Est, LGV Rhône-Alpes, LGV Mediterrannée
Top Speed: 300/270 km/h (186/168 mph)
Number in Service: 107 (see roster for numbering)
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC (15kV 16.7Hz for some)
Traction: 12 DC motors, total continuous power 6450 kW (8650 hp) under 25kV supply, 3100 kW (4160 hp) under 1.5kV supply, 2800 kW (3750 hp) under 15kV supply. Almost twice these figures for 7 minutes.
Length and Weight: 200 m / 385 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 8 trailers + 1 power car, 350 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 17 kW/tonne / 1.10 tonnes/seat / 18.34 kW/seat
Spotting Features: Orange livery (not for long), roof fairing of locomotive does not extend over cab. Don't confuse with Atlantique or Réseau.
Images: [TGV Pages] [ERS Picture Gallery]
Special Notes: Trainset 16 set 1981 speed record of 380 km/h (236 mph).
TGV La Poste
Build Dates: 1981-1984
Territory: LGV Sud-Est
Top Speed: 270 km/h (168 mph)
Number in Service: 7 (see roster for numbering)
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC
Traction: Same as TGV Sud-Est
Length and Weight: 200 m / 345 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 4 trailers, 0 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 19 kW/tonne
Spotting Features: Yellow livery and "La Poste" lettering
Images: [TGV Pages]
Special Notes: Always operated in pairs. Carries mail only.
TGV Atlantique
Build Dates: 1989-1992
Territory: LGV Atlantique
Top Speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Number in Service: 105 (see roster for numbering)
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC
Traction: 8 3-phase AC synchronous motors, total power 8800 kW (12000 hp) under 25kV supply
Length and Weight: 238 m / 484 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 10 trailers + 1 power car, 485 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 18 kW/tonne / 1.00 tonnes/seat / 18.14 kW/seat
Spotting Features: 10 trailers and silver/blue livery, numbering 301 to 405. Don't confuse with PSE or Réseau.
Images: [TGV Pages] [ERS Picture Gallery]
Special Notes: Trainset 325 holds world speed record of 515.3 km/h (320.3 mph).
AVE (Alta Velocidad Española)
Build Dates: 1991-1992
Territory: Madrid-Sevilla high speed line, Spain
Top Speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Number in Service: 16
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 3kV DC
Traction: Same as TGV Atlantique
Length and Weight: 200 m / 392 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 8 trailers + 1 power car (329 seats)
Performance Metrics: 22 kW/tonne / 1.19 tonnes/seat / 26.75 kW/seat
Spotting Features: Rounded nose fairing, white livery. Don't confuse with Euromed broad-gauge version.
Images: [ERS Picture Gallery]
Special Notes: The AVE is an exported Spanish TGV, closely derived from the TGV Atlantique. It runs on German-designed high speed tracks, and is gauged at the standard 1.435 m (4' 8.5") unlike the Spanish broad gauge of 1.668 m (5' 5.5").
TGV Réseau
Build Dates:1992-1996
Territory: Mostly LGV Nord-Europe, entire TGV network
Top Speed: 300 km/h
Number in Service: 80 (see roster for numbering)
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC (3kV DC for some)
Traction: Same as TGV Atlantique
Length and Weight: 200 m / 386 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 8 trailers + 1 power car, 377 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 23 kW/tonne / 1.02 tonnes/seat / 23.34 kW/seat
Spotting Features: 8 trailers and silver/blue livery, numbering in 500 or 4500 series. Don't confuse with PSE or Atlantique.
Images: [TGV Pages] [ERS Picture Gallery]
More Information: See article.
Special Notes: Some trainsets are equipped with 3kV DC for service to Belgium or Italy.
Build Dates: 1993-1995
Territory: LGV Nord-Europe and points north
Top Speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Number in Service: 31 (see roster for numbering)
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 3kV DC, 750V DC third rail (1.5kV DC for some)
Traction:12 3-phase AC asynchronous motors, total power 12200 kW (16300 hp) under 25kV supply
Length and Weight: 394 m / 752 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 18 trailers + 1 power car, 794 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 16 kW/tonne / 0.98 tonnes/seat / 15.90 kW/seat
Spotting Features: yellow duckbill nose, low profile.
Images: [ERS Picture Gallery]
More Information: See article.
Special Notes: International (40/40/20) cooperation between France, Britain and Belgium.
TGV Duplex
Build Dates: 1995-1997
Territory: LGV Sud-Est
Top Speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Number in Service: 30
Supply Voltages: 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC
Traction: Same as TGV Atlantique
Length and Weight: 200 m / 380 tonnes
Configuration: 1 power car + 8 trailers + 1 power car, 545 seats (see formations)
Performance Metrics: 23 kW/tonne / 0.70 tonnes/seat / 16.15 kW/seat
Spotting Features: Bilevel seating, single windshield, rounder nose
Images: [TGV Pages] [ERS Picture Gallery]
More Information: See article.
Special Notes: Developed to relieve congestion on LGV Sud-Est.


Some Sources Used:

La Vie du Rail

French weekly rail magazine. Great for keeping up with the latest developments. Good historical and international coverage. Good special editions on topics such as the world speed record. Their photography is solid and the writing good, despite the occasional over-patriotic bias. No wonder, since this is a publication widely read by the employees of SNCF. Subscriptions: call (+33) 1 49 70 12 63.

Chemins de Fer

The magazine of the Association des Amis des Chemins de Fer (AFAC), with some well-researched articles on various TGV topics. This publication is of far higher quality than LVDR, but it is only bimonthly and very expensive. See their web page for more info.

Various Magazines...

Railway Gazette International, Rail Passion, etc.

Various Libraries...

Of help to me was the Stanford University Engineering library, which should have an equivalent at any large university with an engineering school. Research papers and conference proceedings abound. A treasure trove of old primary source documents can be found in Paris at the Bibliothèque Publique d'Informations at Beaubourg.

L'histoire du record du monde de vitesse sur rail, battu par la rame 325 du TGV Atlantique le 18 mai 1990 avec une marche à 515,3 km/h. Tout ceci vous provient du numéro hors-série de La Vie du Rail (voir bibliographie), publié à cette occasion.


Measurement of the sound produced by a TGV train (or any type of high speed train) passing at high speed is an important area of research and development. The power dissipated as noise goes up roughly with the cube of speed, with the result that high speed trains are rather louder than normal trains. Acoustic measurement techniques can pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from. This has several important applications:

  • Environmental Impact Evaluation. Data is used to develop governmental noise prediction schemes for evaluating noise emission levels along high speed rail lines.

  • Sound Barrier Design. Source strengths can be used to evaluate the efficiency of sound barriers of various designs, which are intended to reduce the noise reaching surrounding inhabited areas.

  • Train Design. Data identifies the principal sources of noise, where improved aerodynamic design or sound shielding might reduce the amount of sound radiated into the environment.

How is the Sound Measured?images/research/thalysmicro.jpg


The acoustic images were obtained with the SYNTACAN acoustic antenna array of the TNO Institute for Applied Physics (TNO-TPD) in Delft, The Netherlands.

The SYNTACAN is designed for highly directional sound measurements. The complete system uses 36 microphones, forming a sparse array with a length of nearly 80 meters. In the vertical position 24 microphones are used and the height is 10 meters. In the picture, the SYNTACAN array is shown near a high speed line in Belgium, measuring the sound made by a Thalys trainset passing at 330 km/h, during a measurement campaign in 1996. The SYNTACAN boom is held at a slight angle from vertical by a crane, to correct for the cant of the track. A measurement van contains computer equipment to log the data. In the foreground, two other instruments are visible: a radar velocimeter, used to accurately measure the speed of the train, and an artifical noise source used to calibrate and align the acoustic antenna.

Using a two-dimensional Fourier analysis technique, the sound field is decomposed into the frequency dependent contributions from different directions, which can be associated with (partial) sound sources. The SYNTACAN system allows measurements in the 1/1 octave bands of 125 up to 2000 Hz with a resolution of 1/12 octave. (An octave is defined exactly the same way as in music, with 1/12 octave equal to one half tone; middle A is 440 Hz.) Its spatial resolution in radians approximately equals the ratio of wavelength to antenna length.

Acoustic Images of a TGV Atlantique

After being processed as described above, the data collected using the microphone array can be displayed as an image of the train as it would look if your eyes could "see" sound sources. The images don't look very much like a TGV Atlantique trainset, but if you observe closely, several interesting features can be picked out.


What you see is essentially several 2-dimensional side views of the train, taken in different octave bands. The center frequency of each picture is labelled above it. The images represent the measured sound pressure levels at the position of the antenna, as a function of height and lateral position along the train. Red is highest pressure (loudest), while dark blue is lowest. The images are different for the various octave bands, due to the varying importance and radiation characteristics of the noise sources and physical phenomena that generate the noise.

High-pitched rolling noise clearly emanates from the wheels; look at the picture in the 2000 Hz band. Most of the emission is concentrated at track level (0 meters on the vertical axis), and you can distincly see the individual bogies of the trailers. These show up as light blue spots at the center of the image, at a spacing of 18.7 meters (the length of a TGV trailer).

Aerodynamic noise sources are in general found all along the train. The power units (one at each end of the trainset) are clearly the loudest; this results in the red areas on the left and right sides of each image. You can also discern that the pantograph is raised on the right side power unit (at the rear of the train, which is travelling from right to left.)

Using this kind of data, it is possible to design quieter trains, better sound barriers, and to better estimate the noise impact of high speed lines.

Courtesy of Dr. A.C. Geerlings, TNO-TPD, Full reference:
J.D. van der Toorn, H. Hendriks and T.C. van den Dool, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 193 (1) 1996, pp 113-121, "Measuring TGV source strength with Syntacan"
For more information, please visit the Acoustic Division
at the TNO Institute of Applied Physics.

Last modified: 7 September 1998

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