It had to be a nice weekend off on vacation for thousands of travelers heading to Brittany or the South West of France. But a land subsidence, which occurred this Sunday at 4:45 p.m. on a site to renew the Chartres and Gaillardon bridges, near the SNCF tracks (RER B, C and TGV), and 1,200 m from Massy station (Essonne ), immobilized, sometimes for several hours, around thirty trains departing from Montparnasse station, and up to 70 TGVs and tens of thousands of passengers in total.
“The accident took place near the tracks at the Chartres bridge in Massy,” a spokesperson for the SNCF told Le Parisien. The emergency services quickly requested the interruption of train traffic, which was done from 5.30 p.m., to carry out their operations because a person was missing. The searches made it possible to find the worker – an executive of SNCF network specified the Minister of Transport – who unfortunately died of the consequences of his injuries.
Disaster on the construction site, confusion at the station
In Montparnasse station, as in all those located along the lines between Paris and Brittany, immense confusion reigned, despite the regular announcements broadcast on loudspeakers and screens, as well as the numerous agents dispatched to keep travelers informed.
“All traffic to or from Montparnasse station has been stopped,” added the spokesperson. Travelers leaving for the South-West, and in particular the cities of Nantes, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Hendaye, Tours, La Rochelle or even Poitiers, have been invited to postpone their trip. No train for these destinations will run until tomorrow morning (Monday), in both ways. The railway company, on the other hand, was trying to find alternative routes, relying in particular on the Austerlitz station, for Brittany. But very big delays are to be expected anyway, ”the spokesperson further alerted.
Some passengers were already preparing to spend the night in the gigantic station. Jordan, was to go towards Bordeaux at 19:53. Despite his removal, he has no choice but to stay: “I don’t know anyone here in Paris to accommodate me, so I have to wait. “And to add:” We did not have SNCF agents to inform us of the continuation. “
In Massy, SNCF general security police quickly secured the area, located at the end of Avenue du Général-de-Gaulle, ensuring that no one crossed the barriers. Above a mound, near the rails, dozens of firefighters were hard at work, helped by at least five rowing machines, as well as cranes equipped with long cables, while the other construction machines were stopped.
“The service was able to resume gradually from 9 pm,” said the prefecture of Essonne. In the station, the same scenes as in Montparnasse, with long queues in front of the main line counters. Travelers leaving for Lyon, Strasbourg or Lille did not know how to do it. “I don’t think I would have a train tonight,” Elise, 20, admitted to her father by phone. I hope to have news and to be able to come tomorrow. The lucky ones were already turning around to go home. But others were looking for a hotel.
These same scenes were repeated in many other stations until late in the evening. “My father had just dropped me off at Auray station (Morbihan) so that I could return to Paris,” says Juliette, 36 years old. His car had barely turned the corner when I heard an announcement telling me that my train had been canceled. I was able to call him back and ask him to come back and get me. But I could see that around me, others were in trouble. I had to call my work to tell them that I couldn’t come before Tuesday. “
Djebbari at the scene of the accident
On board the trains, the passengers took their troubles patiently. “I left Rennes, direction Paris, with 10 minutes late, testified Mathieu on board the TGV 8016. Or, shortly after 5 pm, instead of 4:52 pm, as initially planned. We were arrested for the first time at Laval train station. Then we left, to stop again at Le Mans station. Before leaving again around 9 p.m., for an expected arrival 2:30 later, probably around 11:30 p.m., instead of 7:31 p.m., as indicated on my ticket. But the people were pretty calm. “
The Minister for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, went to Massy in the evening. He first greeted the memory of the SNCF executive engineer who died, before indicating that “several investigations” would be carried out to shed light on this tragedy. He also promised that all travelers impacted by the delays would have a solution.