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French Trains Too Fat?

Posted August 06, 2018 12:00 AM by RSBenner
Pathfinder Tags: france French Train

The National Rail Operator in France, the SNCF, states on their official website that nearly one million passengers ride the Regional Express Trains, or TER, every day on one of 9,500 TER or regular coach trains. That is a large operation! With the popularity of rail travel, it was decided that new, higher capacity trains would be ordered to meet the customer’s expectations.

SNCF had contracted with Réseau ferré de France (RFF), the company in charge of the tracks, to work out the measurements for the new trains. However, during this investigation, RFF only measured modern stations and failed to factor in that 1,300 of the 8,700 total stations were built more than 50 years ago – and that these stations had narrower platform openings than the stations measured.

OOPS!

So, by May of 2014, with 341 of the 1,860 trains delivered, work had already begun widening the affected stations. Making the original 15 billion euros ($20.5 billion) price tag of the project possibly increase by 100 million euros.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

In July of 2015, it was reported that the trains intended to be used for passage between France and Italy could not be used for that purpose. Why? Because the trains are too tall to fit through the mountain tunnels between the two countries.

Maybe they need a new measuring tape…

References:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/10845789/French-rail-company-order-2000-trains-too-wide-for-platforms.html

https://www.thelocal.fr/20150703/new-french-trains-too-high-to-get-to-italy

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#1

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/06/2018 8:48 AM

"Maybe they need a new measuring tape…"

Maybe they need to go back to school, or a brain transplant.

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#2

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/06/2018 9:47 AM

..."The new trains are several milimetres higher than the maximum height of the tunnels along the Riviera coastline route, according to Nice Matin newspaper."...

I have 3 words...Lidar Guided Lasers.....Map the ceiling ...Then large grinding wheels running on the train track with debris catching cars...A few mm's. how long could it take..?

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#4
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/06/2018 11:34 PM

They'd better measure several train cars after they've been sitting in the sun for a good while, and grind the tunnels accordingly.

On second thought, it would probably be safer to lower the rails than to thin the ceiling.

It's not like a truck, where it is possible to deflate the tires to release one stuck below an underpass...

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#5
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 12:26 AM

I guess it depends on how many low spots and exactly how low they are...several mm's in a few spots, just grind them down....10 miles of several inches, lower the track...maybe

If it's just that nose cone on the train that's the problem, well a quick redesign is in order....

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#3

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/06/2018 2:03 PM

And I thought that engineers, of all people, paid close attention to detail and thought projects through. This should make all of us feel better about our own occasional lapses.

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#8
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 9:01 AM

Detail indeed. After all, everything is in the details. Everyone does err on occasion, after all, as the saying goes, the only one who never makes a mistake is the one that never does anything.

Based on the number of errors, it sure looks like this one did not get enough research into the details.

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#6

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 4:42 AM

With all the electronic measuring devises, It seems like it would of been relative simple to run the line and check the clearances. Once, I was designing an extension to an industrial building with an overhead rail. The old plans I had showed the center to center of the rails was 40'. I was designing accordingly. My boss (who wasn't an engineer), told me to go out and measure them. They were actually 60' center to center.

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#21
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/08/2018 12:27 AM

An old maxim for engineers springs to mind -

Never believe anyone, especially clients or architects...check.

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#7

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 6:24 AM

SNCF seems to have rediscovered that whilst the track gauge is a constant, the envelope through which the train must pass is not; I think it's called the loading gauge. Before you think "that couldn't happen to me, I don't work on railways", remember that the same considerations apply to moving large plant items by rail. You need to consider the horizontal and vertical relationship of the platform edge to the track, the height of electric overhead traction supply wires, tunnel dimensions (in three dimensions), the radius of the track bends and bridge loadings. It will vary by age and country as SNCF found out. it will also vary among railway companies where they own the track as well as the rolling stock.

Simple it isn't

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#9

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 9:31 AM

How perfectly and completely French.

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#10

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 10:25 AM

Seattle did the same thing and bought street cars that may or may not be able to fit on the tracks.

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#11
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 10:49 AM

Toronto Ontario Canada did same with new street cars. BIG SNAFU

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#12

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 12:18 PM

I read somewhere that fubar was a German word, and snafu was a French word.

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#13
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 1:06 PM

I tried to find FUBAR ON line but never found the meaning, I know the snafu saying.

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#15
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 3:21 PM

..Beyond All Recognition (there may be other interpretations)

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#16
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 3:31 PM

Thanks this time I got the full meaning..

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#22
In reply to #13

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/08/2018 9:15 AM

My favorite dictionary of computing slang -- FOLDOC (Free On Line Dictionary of Computing) offers this definition of FUBAR along with etymology and an extensive etymology of FOOBAR.

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#23
In reply to #13

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/08/2018 9:21 AM

Could try harder: Fouled Up Beyond All Repair

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#24
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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/08/2018 10:55 AM

Sounds like the sissy politically correct translation.

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#14

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 2:17 PM

Years ago I worked for a company building Non Destructive Testing Equipment. The max length of the CRT was 1/4" longer than the minimum length of the cabinet it was to be mounted into.

Another product we built involved buying a complete mercury vapor UV lamp assembly. We would cut the wire to the shell that contained the bulb off at the transformer case and throw away the case complete with the transformer, power switch and power cord. Then we would take a tool box, drill holes for the power cord and power switch, mount a transformer inside, make a new power cord, drill another hole and run the wire from the shell into it and wire it all together. The last thing was to take the mercury vapor flood lamp out of the shell and replace it with a mercury vapor spot lamp. At the time I was less than a year out of high school and had been working there for only several months. Carrying one of the lights as it came from the vendor I headed upstairs and found the buyer in charge of components for this product and said, "What the hell are you doing??? We are paying $125 for this and throwing everything except for the shell and the cord coming out of it in the trash. Can't we just buy the shell and cord without the bulb???". This guy and I had never met, he had no idea who I was. (A nobody). He called the vendor right in front of me and got a quote for the shell with the cord. I think the quote for this was $25.

Seems to me several years ago new train cars were ordered for use here in Connecticut that were too wide for the platforms but I looked and didn't find anything online about it. One would think, within a specific region, there would be standards for things like the max dimensions of trains that need to be followed but maybe that would come under the category of "common sense". (See below).

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#17

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 3:42 PM

Excuse me, does this train make me look fat?

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#18

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 3:55 PM

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 4:35 PM

WE FIT. Oops, no we don't...

I'm not sure that deflating the tires would free that one!

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Re: French Trains Too Fat?

08/07/2018 4:28 PM

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