The TGV La Poste were dedicated trainsets for high-speed freight and mail transportation by French railway company SNCF on behalf of the French postal carrier La Poste. The top speed of this TGV Sud-Est derivate was 270 km/h (168 mph), making them the fastest freight trains in the world. They were withdrawn in 2015.[1]

TGV La Poste
TGV La Poste trainset
In service1984-2015
Family nameTGV
Number built2,5 (new) + 1 (converted)
Number preserved3 + ½ spare set
Formation10 cars
(2 power cars, 8 postal cars)
Operator(s)SNCF for La Poste
Train length200 m
Width2.904 m (9 ft 6.3 in)
Maximum speed270 km/h (168 mph)
Power output6,800 kW (9,100 hp) @ 25 kV
Electric system(s)25 kV AC
1500 V DC
Current collection methodPantograph
Safety system(s)TVM 300/TVM 430
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge


The trainsets were built by Alstom between 1978–1986. These TGV units are essentially TGV Sud-Est trainsets that are modified for transporting mail. 5 half-trainsets were built, numbered 1-5. A further two, numbered 6 and 7, were converted from former TGV-SE trainset no. 38. Each half-trainset consisted of a power car and four intermediate-trailers.

In 2009, La Poste reduced services from 8 to 6 daily round trips.[2]

On 21 March 2012 a demonstration freight train ran to London-St Pancras,[3] but there was no follow-up.

In mid-2015, La Poste ended TGV postal services, shifting mail services to swap bodies instead as part of a major logistics restructuring and expansion which the trainsets were not capable of handling.[4][1] Additionally, the demand for fast overnight mail services has been decreasing in recent years. The final service was on 27 June 2015 between Cavaillon (Marseilles) and Charolais (Paris).[4] La Poste originally was seeking a buyer for the fleet,[4] however in December 2016 three trainsets were dismantled by SME (Société Métallurgique d'Épernay)[5] leaving only a half spare trainset left.

Fleet details

Class Number in service Year built Operator Current units Notes
Series 923000 2.5 (5 half-sets) 1981 La Poste P1-P5
1 (2 half-sets) 1984 P6-P7 Rebuilt from SNCF TGV Sud-Est passenger trainset no. 38

See also

  • British Rail Class 325, 161 km/h (100 mph) postal EMUs used in Britain
  • ETR 500, in freight operation since October, 2018. Maximum speed is 300 km/h, average speed is 180 km/h.


  1. "Swap bodies to carry mail by rail". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  2. "TGV: La Poste supprime un quart des TGV postaux" [Service reduction for the TGV postal train]. Passion - Trains (in French). 24 April 2009.
  3. "Demonstration high speed freight train links Lyon and London". Railway Gazette International. 21 March 2012.
  4. Barrow, Keith (29 June 2015). "Last post for French high-speed freight as postal TGVs bow out". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  5. Rapport de présentation 'Prestations de démantèlement de rames Tgv postal'. G Chan Liat (in French). 3 September 2016

Further reading

  • Perren, Brian (15–28 February 1995). Kelly, Peter (ed.). "Speeding La Poste". RAIL. No. 246. pp. 36–37. ISSN 0953-4563.

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