Jacques Cooper, who designed Alstom’s first TGV, has died

Jacques Cooper, who designed France’s first high-speed train (TGV), has died, Alstom has announced.

Jacques Cooper has diedJacques Cooper worked at Alstom in the 1970s and 1980s. He will go down in history as the man who designed the high-speed train with its distinctive, aerodynamic silhouette.

Earlier, Jacques Cooper designed the first “turbotrain”, the TGV-001 train, a prototype designed in 1972 to enable trains to reach speeds of between 250 and 300 km/h. It was never introduced into commercial service, but was used as the basis for the first high-speed train between Paris and Lyon.

Both the shape and colour of the prototype were retained, and in 1981 the TGV made its debut in France at the Gare de Lyon in Paris, in the presence of then French President François Mitterrand. The TGV became a symbol of national pride in France, used to illustrate the country’s industrial achievement.

Condolences from Henri Poupart-Lafarge

“We are touched at Alstom after learning of the passing of Jacques Cooper. He left his mark forever on the railway sector, designing the characteristic <nose> of the orange TGV, which paved the way for high-speed trains in France. We send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom.

Jacques Cooper died at the age of 93. During his career, he designed tractors and helicopters before specialising in railways. His other achievements include the design of the Porche 914-6 Murène – from which he drew inspiration for the TGV design – and the Cairo metro.

More than 40 years after the TGV’s introduction in France, SNCF is preparing to take delivery of a new generation of high-speed trains, the TGV-M, at the end of next year, whose exterior design largely retains the lines and shapes designed by Jacques Cooper in the 1970s.

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