The secrets of “high-speed rail” explained to the Cité des Sciences

Fascinated by high-speed rail? Head to the Cité des Sciences in Paris to discover a fun and informative exhibition on the technology of these trains, which must combine speed and safety.

Introducing young and old to high-speed train technology is the goal of the Grande vitesse ferroviaire exhibition at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris.

Until 18 August, the public can discover the scientific, technical and human aspects of a know-how where France has long played a leading role.

France, champion of high speed

The exhibition thus recalls the many records accumulated by France in the search for speed. Because if “high speed” was born in Japan in the 60s, France has distinguished itself in this field since the 80s. It still holds the world record for speed on rail with 574.8 km/h set on 3 April 2007 by a TGV on the Paris-Strasbourg high-speed line. An audiovisual device allows the public to relive the emotion felt during this world record.

Records and Challenges

But a record can’t be set on a snap of a finger! On 700m², the exhibition proposes to discover the three main technical challenges to reach high-speed rail.Namely: how to move a train from 400 tons to 320km/h? How to trace and build a high-speed line? And finally, how can we safely run high-speed trains?

An interactive exhibition

To answer all these questions without crushing the visitor under a train of indigestible technical data, the exhibition is based on models, interactive multimedia games, videos, quizzes and also a driving simulator with a reconstituted TGV cab.

Fly a high-speed train!

An attraction that is a huge success, for both adults and children. ” The sensations are very realistic, we really have the impression of speed. There is data on the control screen that tells us what to do: adapt the speed in the station, signal our presence with the horns… On some attractions the parents take more pleasure than the children paradoxically ” recognizes Xavier, a visitor.

Artistic path

For those who are afraid of an exhibition that is too technical, three artistic installations are proposed, all inspired by the world of the train. A monumental work by Jean-Michel Caillebotte, La Motrice en avant-première, represents a motor that is racing, panicking, derailing and bursting into the exhibition space.

The frustrated glazier, 3D projection by Pierrick Sorin, is a film in relief
who plays with the emotions of the spectators using the principle of augmented reality.

As for Cosmos Express by Joanie Lemercier, it is an immersive audiovisual device based on video mapping, a tribute to the railway visions of several major names in the comic strip and animation today.