France’s new trains are too wide for platforms in stations.

France Bought $20 Billion Worth of New Trains That Are Too Big to Fit in the Country’s Stations

France Bought $20 Billion Worth of New Trains That Are Too Big to Fit in the Country’s Stations

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May 21 2014 8:56 PM

France Bought $20 Billion Worth of New Trains That Are Too Big to Fit in the Country’s Stations

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Merde.

Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

If this is a sneaky job creation plan, well played, France. But there must be an easier way. On Wednesday, France’s national rail company announced—probably a bit sheepishly—that there is a petite problem with its recently delivered $20 billion purchase of 2,000 new trains for the country’s expanding railway system. The itsy bitsy problem is the entire new fleet won’t fit in many of the country’s train stations. They are too wide for the platforms.

How could this happen? Christophe Piednoël, a spokesman for France’s national rail operator, nonchalantly explained to a French radio station “we discovered the problem a bit late, we recognise that and we accept responsibility on that score,” France 24 reports, “and that only 1,300 of 8,700 platforms needed work.” Piednoël, perhaps not sensing that it’s probably too soon for jokes about the situation, continued: “It's as if you bought a Ferrari and when you come to park it in your garage you realize your garage isn't exactly the right size for a Ferrari because you didn't have a Ferrari before." But, he said, they’re already super-hard at work renovating the platforms around the country so they will fit France’s new “Ferrari trains.”

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Others in France were, predictably, not particularly amused by the goof, which occurred because the rail operator “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,” France 24 reports. The cost of the repairs reportedly could cost up to $100 million.

The whole sordid affair was first reported by the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné. The cherry on top.