top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Why SNCF ordered wrong-sized trains

Joint SNCF and RFF report concludes that a lack of communication and co-ordination is to blame for embarrassing scandal

A JOINT SNCF and Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) investigation into how and why trains were ordered that are too large for 1,300 railway stations in France has concluded there are no major failures in the French rail system.

Instead, a report ordered last week by transport minister Frédéric Cuvillier blamed the scandal on a lack of communication and coordination between the train operator and the rail network, Le Parisien has said.

The newspaper reports that SNCF said that the TER trains ordered from Alstom and Bombardier are fully compliant with international standards and have been approved for use on the French rail network.

When the trains were ordered in 2009, SNCF requested station width figures from RFF, but complete accounts of platform sizes did not exist - only those for stations dating back less than 30 years.

RFF only belatedly realised that its figures on platform width across its network of 8,700 stations in France were not accurate or up to date, and that platforms at 1,300 stations needed to be adapted to allow the new trains to enter.

As a result, RFF has to foot the estimated €50m bill to ‘shave’ platforms. Work, the report said, has already started, and 300 stations have been adapted. All 1,300 affected stations should be properly adapted once the new trains are fully in service in 2016.

The bosses of both companies, SNCF’s Guillaume Pepy and RFF’s Jacques Rapoport, will appear before a National Assembly committee to explain what the minister of transport has described as an “incredible” error, "as soon as possible".

Photo: Jean-Louis Zimmermann

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now