France Buys Trains Too Fat for Stations

While the state-owned SNCF train service is usually held up as an emblem of efficiency, the French train company has found itself the butt of many jokes because it turns out it accidentally ordered trains that were too wide for some of its stations. The mistake, which was uncovered by the investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, happened when SNCF ordered trains using the dimensions of newer stations, forgetting that older ones had a narrower gap between platforms. The €20.5 billion purchase was part of a network upgrade to deal with a 40 percent increase in passengers over the next decade. A total of €50 million will now be spent to upgrade the 1,300 platforms where the trains would have gotten stuck.