Rail Company Orders 2,000 Trains Too Wide For Platforms
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[May 23, 2014]
PARIS (Reuters) - France's national
rail company SNCF said on Tuesday it had ordered 2,000 trains for an
expanded regional network that are too wide for many station platforms,
entailing costly repairs.
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 Enchaine
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 ($110
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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 = 0.7302 Euros)
(Reporting by Gerard Bon and Elizabeth Pineau, writing by Nicholas
Vinocur; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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