A spokesman for the RFF national rail operator confirmed the
error, first reported by satirical weekly Canard Enchaine in its
"We discovered the problem a bit late, we recognise that and we
accept responsibility on that score," Christophe Piednoel told
France Info radio.
Construction work has already begun to reconfigure station
platforms to give the new trains room to pass through, but
hundreds more remain to be fixed, he added.
The mix-up arose when the RFF transmitted faulty dimensions for
its train platforms to the SNCF, which was in charge of ordering
trains as part of a broad modernisation effort, the Canard
The RFF only gave the dimensions of platforms built less than 30
years ago, but most of France's 1,200 platforms were built more
than 50 years ago. Repair work has already cost 80 million euros
Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier blamed an "absurd rail
system" for the problem, referring to changes made by a previous
government in 1997. "When you separate the rail operator (RFF)
from the user, SNCF, it doesn't work," he told BFMTV. ($1 =
(Reporting by Gerard Bon and Elizabeth Pineau, writing by
Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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