Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Loading Gauge

I've always thought that the carriages in France end up much closer to the platform edge than they do in the UK; I've no idea what 'Mind the Gap' is in French, but I've never heard any such announcement even when they are also given in English. This photo from Wikipedia shows what I'm talking about. Such small clearances mean that if you want to introduce new locomotives or carriages to the network you need to ensure they fit within the specified loading gauge. This is the same for modellers as it is for the real railway; you may remember that the carriage I received as a birthday present only just clears the tunnel on Jerusalem. While changing a model can be frustrating and relatively expensive, clearly a similar problem on the real railway would be exponentially worse.

Amazingly not accurately checking the loading gauge is exactly what led to a number of news reports today. Here are some quotes from the Reuters article:

France's national rail company SNCF said on Tuesday it had ordered 2,000 trains for an expanded regional network that are too wide for many station platforms, entailing costly repairs.
The RFF 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. Repair work has already cost 80 million euros.


  1. Whoops. I'm glad it's not only me that does such things. I measured a trawler once to transit the Caledonian Canal. She did fit but the rudder was never quite the same again.

  2. Oddly the station at Saint Foy La Grande does merit and receive a 'please mind the gap' message on the train.