Montparnasse Derailment

The last paragraph is pretty amazing.

On October 22, 1895, on a day almost like any other day, the Grandville to Paris express train No. 721 met with misfortune trying to make up time. The train entered the original Gare Montparnasse station going at a speed of 25 to 37 miles per hour which does not seem like much, but when the air brake failed, the train was carried past the buffers and 100 foot station concourse to crash through a 2 foot think wall before falling 33 feet where it landed on the nose of the steam locomotive.


One Sad Fatality

The train was carrying 131 passengers, six passenger carriages, a post van and three baggage vans (cars). Amazingly only 6 people on the train were injured. The real tragedy was Marie-Augustine Aguilard who lost her life from falling masonry. Marie was filling in at the newspaper stand nearby for her husband who went to collect the evening papers. The railway company paid for her funeral and provided a pension to care for the couple’s 2 children.

Retribution Negligible

The aftermath was the Locomotive driver was fined 50 Francs for coming into the station too fast, one of the guards was fined 25 Francs for being to preoccupied with paperwork to apply the handbrake. To give you an idea, an early equivalent of 20 Francs was worth approximately $4 US dollars back in the in the 1800s. (According to

In The End…

The train sat in this undignified position for several days after multiple attempts to remove the locomotive all failed. Finally, in the end, it took a 250 ton winch with ten men to lower the locomotive to the ground and then lift the tender back into the station. Surprisingly, when the locomotive reached the railway workshop it was found to have barely suffered any damage.

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