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May 21, 2014

SNCF new €15bn trains too wide for French rail network

French railway operator SNCF has ordered that 2,000 new trains that are mistakenly too wide for many of the country's regional platforms, at a cost of €15bn.

French railway operator SNCF has ordered that 2,000 new trains that are mistakenly too wide for many of the country’s regional platforms, at a cost of €15bn.

The error was uncovered after national rail operator RFF had given wrong platforms dimensions to SNCF.

RFF only provided the dimensions of platforms built less than 30 years ago, but many of the country’s 1,200 platforms were built more than 50 years ago.

"Around one in six regional train stations will be renovated to accommodate the new trains."

France Transport minister Frederic Cuvillier was quoted by media sources as saying: "When you separate the rail operator [RFF] from the user [SNCF], it doesn’t work."

Station refurbishments are already underway, which will see new equipment and widened platforms to accommodate the new trains. According to SNCF, around one in six regional train stations will be renovated.

RFF director Christophe Piednoel told France Info radio station that only 1,300 of 8,700 platforms needed renovation.

Of the total trains that are yet to be delivered, 1,000 were ordered from Alstom and 860 from Bombardier. However, SNCF noted that only 341 trains are affected by the fault.

When operational, the trains are expected to meet the increasing passenger demand in the country.

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