Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Accident at the Montparnasse Railway Station, Paris -- October 22, 2020


Engineering, 01-November-1895

125 years ago today, on 22-October-1895, a train entering the Montparnasse Railway Station in Paris, failed to stop and crashed through a wall. Falling debris killed a poor woman on the street. The crew and the passengers all survived. 

San Francisco Call, 17-November-1895


Elevated Train Crashes Through a
Station and Falls to the Street.

A remarkable accident occurred about two weeks ago in Paris, by which an engine and tender were precipitated from an elevated platform at the Montparnasse station. The train rolled into the train shed at a rate of about thirty-five miles an hour without being able to arrest itself, crashed through the bumpers at the end of the track, as well as the front wall of the station, and after traveling about forty-five feet tumbled into the street below, the engine fairly on its nose. Fortunately at this moment the air brake was put on and the rest of the train was prevented from going over. It was to this circumstance that the 123 passengers in the coaches owe their lives. As to the engineer and fireman they were saved by being thrown from the engine at the first shock and the only fatality, strange to say, that resulted from the whole affair, was the killing of a merchant in the street below by the fall of a block of stone detached from the wall by the shock. The cause of the accident -- quite the most singular in French railway annals -- is attributed to a defect in the hand brakes, which, strange to say, are always used on French trains, save in cases of emergency, when the air brakes are called into play, and in this case the air force could not be applied quickly or effectually enough.

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