Quelle horreur! New French trains too big for stations

The latest model of French regional trains is fast, sleek and, as it turns out just a little too wide.

In fact, as Alain Autruffe explains, the new fleet of about 340 trains is just several inches too wide to fit into hundreds of railway stations across France built before 1930.

Autruffe works for the train operator, which apparently gave the wrong measurements to the company that built the new trains. No one noticed until it was too late.

It is a monumental embarrassment for the proud French National Rail network, which invested about $20 billion dollars on its new fleet -- and it is going to be an extremely costly one to put right.

The French network's TGV train set, and still holds, the world record for track speed; 357 miles an hour.

It oversaw one of the most complex engineering projects in history in the Channel Tunnel, which now carries 56,000 passengers every day between Britain and Europe.

So, when they heard the latest news, French taxpayers didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

"It could have been avoided," said one man on the streets of Paris. "And who's paying the bill now?"

Well, taxpayers, of course. And because it's impossible to slim down hundreds of brand new trains, work has already started on shaving the edges of about 1,300 platforms across France, at a cost of about $68 million.

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