From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Gare Montparnasse became famous for a derailment on 22 October 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 30 meters of the station concourse, crashed through a 60 centimeter thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes 10 meter 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 detailed as a dream sequence of the main character. It was re-created using a detailed quarter-scale model.
The event is also depicted in the comic book The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec.
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.