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the train is called as "high-speed" only if its speed is (at least on part of its journey) 250 kmph or higher. many countries are trying to develop its own high-speed system, some of them successfully. those less rich accepted their neighbors-ones. it is interesting to watch the "fight" between the giants to "occupy" the greatest part of europe. there are three main high-speed-systems: french tgv, german ice, and italian pendolino, which is nowadays called eurostaritalia. the last named is limited mostly only by italian territory, and its foreign ambitions are shown by two pairs to french city of lyon, and few trains to switzerland. some "pilot" connections are planned to slovenia and croatia. germans had covered their territory by very dense network, and the international ices connect hamburg and wien and there is also austrian domestic ice wien - innsbruck. some ices visit also switzerland and in few months ago they started to connect germany also with dutch amsterdam. the germans would like to spread out also to poland, but it will take a lot of time and money. the french have almost exlusive rights for benelux-countries, and of course connect paris with switzerland. there is also spanish ave, which is used only by domestic trains between madrid and sevilla. there are also some less important mostly tilting-train projects, which make possible to increase the speed up to 30% on old lines with far cheaper investments. these trains are only named, and you can find its details on each country-sites... tgv: tgv is a shortcut for french: train a grande vitesse, train with high speed. it is the oldest system on the european continent. used mostly as a star-like system connecting paris in the centre with the rest of the country. the trains leave paris from normal stations and "behind the city" they enter the high-speed-lines. earlier or later they of course leave it (using one of many connecting-lines) again for a normal line, slowing-down to normal speed, of course ... the first line started in 1981 named as tgv-sud-est (southeast). after a long discussions the paris-lyon section was opened in 1983 and public 270 kmph traffic has begun. after leaving paris' station of gare-de-lyon is the first possible "trainstop" at le creusot tgv. but it is possible to leave the high-speed-line earlier, by the connecting-line to the station of montbard. that is used for the trains heading for dijon, the french lower-alps along the swiss border and also to switzerland, contretely to bern and lausanne. another "junction" is at macon tgv. there is where the trains to geneve and mont-blanc area: st-gervais and Évian. whole section end in front of lyon when entering the station of lyon-part-dieu. another section was made later: it is kind of by-pass of lyon ending in front the city of valence which is today the end-point of whole high-speed-line. also lyon's airport satolaswas connected to the system by this section. this staion is also used as another junction for the trains for savoia alps (bourg-st-maurice, modane and grenoble). according to the existence of the new direct day-time trains (twice-a-day) paris-milano, is satolas connecting-line used also by these. all remaining trains leave the high-speed-line by normal grenoble-valence line, and via valence and avignon continue to the south of the country. and there is another divide: they are heading to the sw along the coast to montpellier, or to the east to marseille, toulon, and along "cote d'azur" via cannes, nice and monaco to italian border station of ventimiglia. the last (for a long period of time) section of tgv-sud-est-line is finished in these months: valence-avignon-marseille/montpellier. most trains are operated by old-style-units in orange color, the rest by newer "atlantique" or "réseau" style. in peak hours there are also new double-deck units "duplex". as a hot news there are those two pairs of trains via modane-pass to italy. other two (new) pairs connect milano with lyon, but those are operated by italian railways fs, and of course occupied by their etr-480-untis. second line is a tgv-atlantique (with 300 kmph as a standard speed) from paris station of montparnasse to le mans and tours, divided at courtalain. in le mans the line is connected to normal line paris-le mans, in tours it is possible to leave it in front of the city (to station st-pierre-des-corps), or by using tours by-pass for tours-poitiers line. the line ends here and it doesn't seem it would go on... but also in this situation it covers by its silver-blue units whole bretagne (from le mans to brest, quimper and le-croisic) and all atlantic coast to far spanish border crossing at hendaye/irún, and also inland areas under the pyreneés-mountains - the cities of toulouse, or lourdes (all via tours). the third (and also the last) is north-heading line tgv-nord from the station of paris-nord to lille and calais. it serves to whole area along the belgian border and la manche-channel. outside lille a calais it is possible to leave it (after "trainstop" tgv-haute-picardie) in front of the city of arras. it is used by some trains to lille and tourcoing, but also to hazebrouck and dunkerque. the units are the same as tgv-atlantique. in the same time aas tgv-nord there was built also paris-by-pass called tgv-réseau, with trainstop at euro-disneyland and at charles-de-gaulle international airport. another one is situated at massy on southern suburb of paris. tgv-reséau makes possible (highly used) direct connections between all three tgv-lines, for example lille - lyon or bordeaux, lyonu - bretagne, but also single connections like avignon-lyon-rouen. projected, and maybe under construction is the fourth line tgv-est, connecting paris to the east with metz and strasbourg. this is possibly the point of the first cooperation with german ice. the wide-spread family of tgv includes also the red units of the system of thalys, connecting paris with benelux, and today also with german ruhrland. thalys of course uses the tgv-nord high-speed line, and covers mainly the paris-brussel-amsterdam and paris-brussel-köln lines. which is maybe not so welcomed by the germans because their own ices have not visited france yet ... single connections are operating between paris-brussel-oostende, and one "lone ranger" runs also on the old, normal line from paris via belgian charleroi to the city of namur. according to some information thalys would cover (using tgv-est-line) also the last "uncovered" capital of benelux-countries: luxembourg... not to be forgotten: the flag-ship of the european union: eurostar. it connects london waterloo int. station with paris station nord, and brussels' station of midi. the only other stations are at english ashford near the western portal of the eurotunnel, in french calais-fréthun at the eastern portal, and at lille-europe station. in all these cases there are luxury stations who look far more like v.i.p. saloons on airports .... eurostar is operated by the private company, owned by french railways sncf, a group of british railways, and belgian sncb. and this is in these conditions very succesful, it destroys not only the ferry-lines across the channel, (which is almost finished...), but also the airways between these three cities. it was succesfully shown in the 80s and 90s by the tgv itself in paris-lyon case ... there is a potential for this, and it is only matter of time when it will get successful... all (london, paris and brussels) airports are overcrowded, and very far from the city centres, so the journey times are comparable. because before the air-traveller gets to the airport, eurostar is somewhere on the half of the journey ... there is also one excentric eurostar: the night connection from london to alps-tourist-centre bourg-st-maurice and v.v. why not to travel some 800 kilometers for one-day-ski-trip ... :-)) under planning ther are also direct conections from belgium and france to british midlands (manchester, liverpool etc.).  
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