Can't Anyone Here Run A Railroad?

JACQUES BRINON/AP

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Canceled trains are an all-too-common nightmare for European travelers like these in Paris

As publicity stunts go, this one could have been better timed. Throughout May and June, as waves of strikes disrupted public transport in France and forced the cancelation of hundreds of trains, the French national railroad company SNCF lugged 28 engines and carriages onto the Champs Elysées for an exhibition that promised to "put the whole of Paris under the spell of rail." The exhibits ranged from a replica of an 1829 steam locomotive to the latest version of the high-speed tgv. There were even models of the very commuter trains hardest hit by the strike, so the crowds at the...

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