Born of the collaboration between engineers, Alstom and SNCF, the French technology of high-speed trains has so far met with a mixed international success. More patents failures in Texas, Florida and Australia are however not related to the competition from other railway manufacturers also present in high speed, as the German Siemens with its ICE or the Japanese Mitsubishi with its Shinkansen, but financial problems that led customers to abandon their projects. Remained faithful to the "wheel-rail" technology, this type of trains has the huge advantage of able to borrow at 160 or 200 km/h most conventional electrified lines, for so little that they have been built. But, to give its full extent, it needs a specific infrastructure which can very quickly reach the heights if the terrain is rugged.
Earned in May 1991 by Alstom (associate to Canadian rival Bombardier and the Morrison Knudsen American) against Siemens, Texas TGV between Dallas and Houston and was abandoned in August 1994, lack of funding for the construction of 7 billion (5.50 billion) against which scrapped the lobbies of ranchers, environmentalists and the regional airline Southwest Airlinesobtaining of the Parliament of the Texas vote a law banning any public subsidy to the project.
In January 1999, the same Alstom-Bombardier consortium, associated with the American Fluor Daniel, has experienced a similar mishap on Miami-Orlando-Tampa won in 1996, with the decision of the Governor of Florida Jeb Bush brother of the current President of the United States to abandon all public funding for this project. In December 2000, it is the turn of the Australian Federal Government to renounce its support for the Canberra-Sydney line, won two years earlier by Alstom to MGB Leighton group.
In these circumstances, the implementation in 2004 of the Seoul-Pusan line on Alstom technology, is of the miracle were difficult financing and construction of 412 kilometers including 190 of tunnels and viaducts 120 connecting two major cities of South Korea. The Pharaonic site signed in 1994 has known delays the Daegu-Busan section does will be crossed at 300 km/h 2008 but the country has completed it to meet the needs of the 33 million people served by this corridor and enter in the club close manufacturers of high-speed trains through the transfer of technology made by the French.
If Taiwan, Alstom, Siemens, associated had to bow to Mitsubishi in 1999, he made full carton on the Eurostar (Paris-London and London-Brussels) connections and Thalys (Paris-Amsterdam-Cologne-Amsterdam), but had to share with German contracts entered into by the Spain. The European line opened in June will be borrowed by the Alstom's TGV as both by the Siemens ICE.
In view of the immense needs of the China, which wants to acquire 2,000 to 3,000 trains circulating between 200 and 350 km/h, but also the increasing interest of the India or the Argentina for high-speed rail, whereas finally replacement in the next 10 years of the first TGV implemented service, competition between suppliers of equipment will not only strengthen in the future.
Alstom prepare with the AGV, its train at high speed of fourth generation marketed as of 2009 and that shared between 330 and 350 km/h. It is with this new product that the Group intends to respond to future calls for tenders of China on the very high speed.