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Place de la Bastille, Paris
March 18, 2008

France plays a significant role in European transportation in many ways. Paris is a central location on the European rail network, being the terminal for many high speed TGV lines, as well as the Eurostar and Thalys high speed trains. Many rail itineraries in Europe will take you through Paris or France whether or not that is your origin or destination.

National train services in France are provided by Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF). The SNCF operates all TGV High Speed services and some parts of the RER Express Network in Paris and its suburbs. The TGV was one of the world’s first high speed trains to be built, and also one of the first to have its own dedicated rights-of-way. Both the TGV train model and operation model have been used by other countries around the world.  The SNCF network is centered on Paris and its seven mainline train stations.  Of these, the Gare du Nord is the busiest station not only in Paris, but in all of Europe, with about 190 million passengers passing through the station each year.

Additionally, Paris was one of the first subway system in the world to explore rubber tired train technology. Most of the rubber tired trains elsewhere in France and the rest of the world are modeled after the Paris Metro.