According to the indispensable "Trains du Sud Ouest" website, the TGV fleet had a total of 401 high speed trains at the end of 2018. 154 were single deck TGV's comprising;
- TGV Sud Est ........ ...................20. ( 1978 - 1982)
- TGV Atlantique ........................46. ( 1989 - 1992)
- TGV Réseau dual voltage .......26 (1992 - 1994)
- TGV Réseau multi voltage ......43 (1993 - 1995) (incl Thalys, Brussels - France, Milan)
- TGV POS (Lyria) .......................19 (1992 - 1994, motrices 2006-7)
18 of the last 20 TGV Sud Est are currently operated from Paris Gare du Nord. It is believed that they will be withdrawn by 2020 (see consequences below)
The TGV Atlantique 10 car sets (which cannot operate anywhere but in west of France) are being withdrawn at a rapid rate. 15 were withdrawn in 2018 and 6 in the first quarter 2019. Clearly few will remain by the end of this year.
The 19 TGV POS Lyria sets will be returned to SNCF in December 2019. It is reported that the 4400 motrices will replace the older TGV Réseau motrices on on the Réseau Duplex units ( 601 - 619). Logically, POS carriages will be scrapped along with the old Réseau motrices.
Thus within 12 - 18 months from now, the first two types of TGV ( approx 200 sets) will all be gone. it seems that the only single deck TGV's remaining in service at SNCF will be the multi voltage TGV Réseau sets, of which 69 were in service at the end of 2018. None had been withdrawn in 2018. We are not aware of intentions regarding these units. Many Réseau sets are used on cross border services to Benelux, Milan.
No new single deck TGV's are on order. An order for 100 new generation TGV Euroduplex sets has been placed with Alstom. They will have an increased capacity of up to 700 passengers. They will no doubt replace the 88 1st generation Duplex units (201 - 297) from 2025 onwards. The demise of the single deck TGVs is not only about their age, but also about their commercial sustainability.
In recent years, to compete with low cost airlines, TGV services have had to focus on price. Low cost 'no frills' Ouigo services have been introduced while normal TGV services are often heavily discounted to the point that there is often little difference with Ouigo prices. For this to be commercially viable trains need to carry plenty of passengers for the length of their journey. The duplex TGV literally meets the need for this 'stack it high - sell it cheap ' approach. A single deck TGV set typically provides 345-360 seats, a normal duplex 510 increasing to 600 in a Ouigo set.
The future of the snakey long TGV services away from the high speed lines seems compromised by the decision to abandon single deck TGV's. For example, the following towns risk having fewer through TGV's to the capital; Quimper, Dunkerque, Douai, Lens, Valenciennes, La Rochelle, Les Sables d'Olonne, Annecy, Evian, Lausanne. The issue for SNCF is that trains need to be full for the majority of their journeys. A TGV journey from Paris to Rang de Fliers takes two and a half hours. While the train will be full fror the first hour from Paris to Lille it will then steadily empty for the next hour and a half as it runs on to Calais Frethun and Boulogne and eventually to its destination of Rang de Fliers where passengers may not even be in double figures
There are already indications of a new strategy developed by SNCF Mobilties. In December 2019 TGV Lyria will only operate Duplex trains. There is a fight over a proposed reduction of TGV Lyria daily return services to Lausanne (via Dijon) from 4 to 3 which is bitterly opposed by Bourgogne Franche-Comté. SNCF says that more seats will be offered every day with the double deck trains. The Region convened, on March 13th, a meeting of the committee that monitors the TGV Lyria trans-Jura services. The committee resolved unanimously to oppose the reduction from 8 to 6 trains a day
In the North of France, in the winter 2018/2019 it was learned that SNCF proposed to change the TGV timetable in 2020 so that there would be two "hubs", at Lille and Arras, where all passengers from Paris for Valenciennes, Douai, Lens, Dunkerque, Calais would have to change. There was uproar and the local political objections to the proposed loss of through TGV's reached the transport minister in the middle of the yellow jacket conflict. For the moment, this 'hub" plan is stalled and SNCF is to make new proposals.