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 6:26 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Take a trip to the Chinese town that has more relics than people.
updated 12:42 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
You know about reggae and Usain Bolt -- but you probably aren't aware of these other Jamaican superlatives.
updated 6:52 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Artist creates brilliant tribute to Dutch impressionist painter -- a cycle route that glows in the dark
updated 1:33 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
European airlines beware: These 320kph trains are upping the travel game with roomy seats and onboard wi-fi.
updated 5:53 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
For such a relatively small collection of islands, the UK packs in an phenomenal range of beautiful scenery.
updated 5:37 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
Animals run behind the Rovos Rail train's observation balcony in Africa.
Rovos Rail's epic trips out of South Africa pamper passengers with fine dining, vintage comfort and even a bathtub.
updated 8:37 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
Nasir al-mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.
updated 10:45 PM EST, Mon November 10, 2014
The subject of erotica has a way of making people uncomfortable.
updated 7:37 PM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
A
UK's Heathrow Airport pairs destinations with fragrances to evoke long distance travel. We do too.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
Bumper cars, a freefall simulator and robot bartenders are just a few of the cool features on Royal Caribbean's new Quantum of the Seas.
updated 5:58 PM EST, Sun November 2, 2014
Up in the mountains and across deep chasms, these bridges are both spectacular and terrifying.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT