TIME France

France’s $20B Train Snafu

New trains are too fat to fit in some stations. Talk about a faux pas

The upcoming train for Paris, now arriving at terminal five will be… completely stuck.

That’s what almost happened in France where the country’s main train company ordered a fleet of new trains too fat to fit in thousands of stations.

France’s national rail operator SNCF, which runs the prestigious TGV fast trains that are a source of pride for the French, spent 15 billion euros ($20.5 billion) on regional trains that are too wide for 1,300 stations, meaning platforms will have to be “shaved” to avoid getting stuck.

Confirming the reports of the mistake, the French train company admitted that the wider trains, built to “meet the public’s expectations requires the modernisation of 1,300 platforms out of a total of 8,700 in the French railways.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser