With news of French state-owned railway company SNCF creating over 2,000 new trains that are too wide for a number of station platforms we thought it would be interesting to look at other miscalculations made by teams that have proved to be very costly…
The Houses of Parliament in London are home to the Big Ben bell, which happened to crack during testing back in 1857. This bell was later melted and recast but when the new bell was installed in 1859, this also cracked. With much of the blame being disputed, it was thought that the material of the bells was too brittle, but instead of changing the bell, they changed the hammer.
The miscalculations continued at the Sochi Winter Olympics when the team behind the event discovered the biathlon track, which should have been 2.5km, was instead just 2.1km. The track had to be quickly extended before the main event was due to start, just three days after they discovered their mistake.
In 2000, London got a new footbridge to mark the millennium, which linked to the recently opened Tate Modern art gallery. The 350m-long structure was built in a way that meant synchronised footfall from people using the bridge would be absorbed in an up-down motion but it wasn’t built with the side-to-side effect in mind, causing the bridge to sway or bounce. Work restarted on the footbridge the following year and was eventually reopened in 2002.
These embarrassing miscalculations show the importance of a strong team that are skilled in attention to detail, otherwise making one wrong decision can prove very costly.