The TGV Sud-Est fleet was built between 1978 and 1988 and operated the first TGV service from Paris to Lyon in 1981. Currently there are 107 passenger sets operating, of which nine are tri-current (25 kV 50-60 Hz AC - French lignes à grande vitesse, 1500 V DC - French lignes classiques, 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC - Switzerland) and the rest bi-current (25 kV 50–60 Hz AC, 1500 V DC). There are also seven bi-current half-sets - TGV La Poste - without seats which carry mail for La Poste between Paris, Lyon and Avignon. These are painted in a distinct yellow livery.
Each set is made up of two power cars and eight carriages (capacity 345 seats), including a powered bogie in each of the carriages adjacent to the power cars. They are 200 m (656 ft) long and 2.904 m (9 ft 6.3 in) wide. They weigh 385 tonnes (379 long tons; 424 short tons) with a power output of 6,450 kW (8,650 hp) under 25 kV.
When the trains were delivered they wore a distinctive orange, grey, and white livery. The last set to wear this livery was repainted in the silver livery similar to the TGV Atlantique sets in 2001. From 2012 trains will be repainted in the new SNCF Carmillon livery.
Originally the sets were built to run at 270 km/h (168 mph) but most were upgraded to 300 km/h (186 mph) during their mid-life refurbishment in preparation for the opening of the LGV Méditerranée. The few sets which still have a maximum speed of 270 km/h (168 mph) operate on routes which have a comparatively short distance on the lignes à grande vitesse, such as those to Switzerland via Dijon. SNCF did not consider it financially worthwhile to upgrade their speed for a marginal reduction in journey time.
In March 2012, set 951 was taken to London to advertise the Euro Carex project.
In February 2013 the TGV Lyria sets (110 to 118) designed for services to Switzerland, were taken out of service. These were replaced by TGV POS sets.
The TGV sets were originally used on services between Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other cities in the south-east of France. In 2013 there were still 55 TGV Sud-Est sets used on services to south-eastern France and cross-country services. Today around 40 sets operate on services from Paris to the north of France, to Lille, Calais, Dunkerque and Boulogne.