French national state-owned railway company SNCF has announced the commencement of project “Botox” to restore and upgrade 104 TGVs to “combat obsolescence”.

SNCF Voyageurs’ Project Botox intends to deal with an expected doubling in the trains’ modal share over the next decade by refurbishing and renovating some its older existing TGV rolling stock.

This project also forms part of SNCF’s sustainability plans as it consists of the recycling and reusing of spare parts while meeting customer demands.

This approach saves the company over “half a billion euros every year” since 500,000 TGV parts will be restored rather than purchased new.

SNCF said: “renovation at mid-life or at the end of life” is set to “fight against obsolescence”.

The selected TGVs will be inspected and divided into three categories:

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  • Trainsets in good condition that can still run will be restored.
  • Trainsets that need more severe repairs to continue in operation will be fixed and upgraded.
  • Obsolete trainsets will be decommissioned and repurposed as spare components.

Included in the close inspection will be the structural conditions of the train set, its metal components, the boiler, the bogies and the electrical installations.

According to SNCF, when the old trains are decommissioned, they will be used as trainset stores since they contain up to 3000 potentially “recoverable and reusable” parts for repairs.

SNCF added that “the first renovated trainsets will be in service early in 2026 on the Atlantic axis”.

The current TGV fleet, which was expected to be withdrawn after the TGV M introduction, has seen an increase of 10% in ticket sales over the past five years.

SNCF has 115 TGV M trainsets on order, but is hoping to increase capacity by extending the service life of its existing fleet by as many as four years.

SNCF has a current fleet of 2,255 trainsets which carry approximately 1.1 million passengers per day.