Gare Montparnasse in Paris
Paris Montparnasse is one of the six large terminus railway stations of Paris, located in the Montparnasse area in the XIVe arrondissement. The station was opened in 1840, and rebuilt completely in 1969. A steam train crashed through the station in 1895; there is a well-known photograph of the event, and full scale reproductions outside a museum chain in South America.
The station is used for the intercity TGV trains to destinations in the west and south-west of France including Tours, Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes. Additionally, it is served by several suburban and regional services on the Transilien Paris – Montparnasse routes. There is also a metro station.
The original station opened in 1840, and was named Gare de l'Ouest, before later being renamed. A second station was built between 1848 and 1852.
On 25 August 1944, the German military governor of Paris, General von Choltitz, surrendered his garrison to the French General Philippe Leclerc at the old train station, after disobeying Adolf Hitler's direct order to destroy the city (see Liberation of Paris).
During the 1960s, a newer station integrated into a complex of office buildings was built. In 1969, the old station was torn down and the Tour Montparnasse built on its spot. An extension was built in 1990 to host the TGV Atlantique.
The Gare Montparnasse became famous for a derailment on 22 October 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careered across almost 30 m of the station concourse, crashed through a 60 cm thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes 10 m below, where it stood on its nose. Two of the 131 passengers sustained injuries, along with the fireman and two conductors. The only fatality was a woman on the street below who was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. A conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty.
The story of the train crash and the picture feature in the 2007 children's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. For the film version, Hugo, the crash was re-created using a detailed quarter-scale model by technicians at New Deal Studios. The story of the 1895 was also referenced in the television series Thomas and Friends in "A Better View For Gordon".
Replicas of the train crash are recreated outside the Mundo a Vapor ("Steam World") museum chain buildings in Brazil, at the southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, in the city of Canela.
Lines serving this station
Adjacent metro station:
- Montparnasse - Bienvenüe
Travelling between the Gare Montparnasse and other Paris main line stations
- Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est: take Métro Line 4
- Gare Saint-Lazare: take Métro Line 12 or 13
- Gare de Lyon and Gare d'Austerlitz: take bus 91
- Transportation in France
- List of stations of the Paris RER
- List of stations of the Paris Métro
- Gare d'Austerlitz
- Gare de l'Est
- Gare de Lyon
- Gare du Nord
- Gare Saint-Lazare
- Gare Montparnasse- current photographs and of the years 1900.
- Satellite image from Google Maps
- Mundo a Vapor Museum The Brazilian museum which contains the 1895 derailment accident replica.