Skip to main content

French trains 'too wide' to fit in some stations

By Barry Neild for CNN
updated 5:09 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • France's rail operators face embarrassment after a mixup led to trains being ordered that can't fit through some stations
  • Media reports say operator RFF took measurements from newer stations, overlooking hundreds of older, narrower platforms
  • RFF and and train company SNCF say a budget of 50 million euros is being spent on upgrading 1,300 platforms

(CNN) -- The next train arriving at platform three will be... completely stuck.

That was nearly the scenario in France where, it's been revealed, the country's main train company ordered a fleet of new trains that were too big to fit in hundreds of stations.

SNCF, whose swift and efficient services are normally a point of pride for the French, spent 15 billion euros ($20.5 billion) on the trains, only to belatedly realize they weren't quite slim enough.

The revelation that the new TER trains were too "paunchy" for the regional stations they will be serving was made by investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, and widely reported in the French media.

The mixup is reported to have occurred when RFF, which operates France's rail network, gave station dimensions to SNCF in advance of the train order.

MORE: 10 things France does better than anyone else

Measurements were taken from more modern stations, but neglected to include older facilities where the gap between platforms is narrower.

RFF and SNCF both released statements saying the new trains were part of a network upgrade to cope with a 40% increase in passengers over the next decade.

They said 50 million euros were being spent on upgrading 1,300 platforms to accommodate the new trains.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:26 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
the Teufelsberg or
Spooks have left their mark on a once-divided city still thought to be an espionage hotbed.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
nanjing, handicrafts
With more than 6,000 years of history, Nanjing is one of the few cities in China still practicing the country's endangered traditional crafts.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Rock and weather collide over millennia to create natural bridges. Here are 15 of our favorites from around the world.
updated 1:39 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
A one-nun brewing operation, Sister Doris is putting Germany's women beer makers on the map. Sort of.
updated 2:07 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
From Myanmar to Mickey Mouse, Stefan Zwanzger, aka The Theme Park Guy, gives his rundown of the best.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Four hundred years after the death of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, her murderous exploits prove a grisly attraction.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Formed by volcanoes and steeped in a rich history of Polynesian culture, Hawaii sounds more like a place in a fantasy novel rather than an American travel oasis.
updated 7:56 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Despite Kyoto's allure, until this year there's been a glaring absence from the city's travel scene -- a top tier, super-luxury hotel brand.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Why global adventurer Alastair Humphreys now looks for 'microadventures' close to home.
updated 7:33 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Don't order Corona and don't freak out when you see Jessica Alba without makeup and you might pass for local.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
History buff? Hardcore surfer? These South Pacific islands have every traveler covered.
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Airlines and airports are going high-tech to reduce your time in line.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 2:32 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Eight of the top 10 scoring cities in the Economic Intelligence Unit's annual Liveability Survey are in Australia and Canada.
updated 6:21 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
When a man tells me to "trust him," my typical reaction is to run.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT