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As the current year of 2021 is the European Year of Rail and also marks the 80th anniversary of Renfe, we wish to dedicate the collection to the history of the railway so as to draw our customers closer to the evolution of one of mankind’s most important modes of transport.

The collection consists of 20 coins: 15 issued in 2021 and the other five, in 2022.

On the obverse, an image in colour of the locomotive designed for the Train Grande Vitesse. On top of the central image, the legend TGV – TRAIN GRANDE VITESSE. Outside the image, devices reminiscent of different rails.

On the reverse of all the coins, inside a central circle, the legend HISTORIA DEL FERROCARRIL (HISTORY OF THE RAILWAY). Underneath, the value of the coin: €1.5 EURO. Outside the central circle, an image of a railway track.

Information about the Coin
Series History of Railways  
Year 2021  
Colour Yes  
Diameter (mm) 33  
Face Value (Euro) 1.5
Metal Cupronickel  
Weight (g) 15  
Maximum Mintage (units) 7,000  

Trains à Gran Vitesse (TGV)

Year of production: 1978

Country: France

Traction: Electricity AVE

Transport: Passengers

Adhesive weight: 194 T

Total length: 200.190 m

Maximum load per axle: 16.1 T

Top speed: 270 km/h

Engine power: 704 hp (525 kW)

Voltage: 1,500 CC – 25 kV 50 Hz AC

 Within Europe, it was in France where the first trials took place for the construction of a high-speed railway, culminating in 1981 with the inauguration of the TGV-Sudeste on the Paris-Lyon route, although it would not come into full operation until 1983. The idea was born as a result of excess traffic problems arising on the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranée (PLM) line, prompting the French railway company, the SNCF, to build a new railway line where trains could reach speeds of over 300 km/h.

After a first trial with turbine locomotives in the mid-1960s, the French government, under pressure deriving from the financial cost involved and the burgeoning financial crisis, opted for electric traction to increase the service between Paris and Lyon.  

            In 1978, French railway tracks started to carry the first convoys: specifically, a power car designed on similar lines to its predecessor, the gas turbine, with 8,450 hp (6.300 kW). Alstom took on the construction of the power cars in Belfort and the trailer coaches in La Rochelle.

Six of the carsets were polyvalent in that they could be powered at 1.500 V CC and at 15,000 V AC, each power unit being equipped with a transformer with an independent thyristore rectifier for each one. The aim was to prevent the failure of more than one engine at the same time and have the thyristores act as choppers to control the engine’s continuous current voltage.

            Each TGV carset was made up of two articulated power cars, mounted on a common bogie.  The train had a total of eight articulated cars and a power car with its streamlined nose at each end, with Bo-Bo axles and electric engines mounted on the bodywork. In addition, it featured a dynamic system and a disc and brake pad, used respectively when travelling at over 300 km/h and to clean the wheel rims. It began its operative life with a top speed of 270 km/h.