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 10:07 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Where to pay homage to the cutest local celebrities you'll ever stalk.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
For air travelers who like to gripe about being cramped in economy, here comes another warning that they've never had it so good.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Cream cakes from the Ruszwurm bakery in Budapest, Hungary
Proving they're what's really important, the world's best pastry shops have survived survived sieges, revolutions and World War II.
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Lois Pryce ignored naysayers and traveled 3,000 miles via motorcycle to discover the real Iran.
updated 11:20 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Built at a cost of $442.2 million, Universal Studios Japan hopes its new Potter attraction will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
A scene in Marrakech
The gateway to Morocco's Atlas Mountains is becoming a photographer's paradise -- but capturing it on camera isn't easy.
updated 5:36 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Cathay Pacific was pronounced the world's best airliner of the year at the industry's leading awards ceremony in Farnborough on Tuesday.
updated 4:44 PM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Britain has stolen a march in the space race with plans for the world's first spaceport outside the U.S.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
In the hunt for the world's best amusement park, the people have spoken -- and it seems the people like mixing with creatures who eat a lot of fish.
updated 2:11 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
An Hellenic Seaplanes aircraft
Seaplane network set to open up far-flung destinations to affordable jet-setting tours.
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
A man who took a dangerous selfie during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, with the half-ton beasts right behind him, is still on the run -- but this time from the police.
updated 10:07 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Its cramped rooms and retro lobby are dated, but its charm and devotion to customers are worth preserving.
updated 1:53 AM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
A young girl sits on a bench decorated with an image of Paddington Bear.
As part of a scheme to encourage reading, 50 benches designed in the style of popular novels or kids' stories have been scattered around London.
updated 9:01 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
To all the locals who have been hoarding the following beaches, please forgive us.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Jason Hullinger, a computer security architect in Los Angeles, went to Joshua Tree National Park in December to catch the Geminid meteor shower.
CNN iReporters from across the globe share their incredible images of the skies above us.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT