Rail chaos as holiday weekend ends
Matthew Warren · 29 May 2012, 07:37
Published: 29 May 2012 07:37 GMT+02:00
Two incidents disrupted travel between Paris and the south of the country.
In the first, a man committed suicide at around 7pm by jumping in front of a high-speed TGV train travelling from Paris to Marseille.
Passengers were transferred to another train while the line was shut for a police investigation. Traffic started operating again at around 11pm.
In a separate incident, another TGV was damaged when it tore down the electricity cable running over the track.
Over 10,000 passengers were affected by the disruption as they returned from the long holiday weekend.
Police and train company SNCF activated emergency measures at train stations in Paris to deal with the influx of people.
This included additional SNCF staff to manage travellers and hand out food.
Police also sent out an emergency appeal to taxi drivers to help take home passengers who arrived after the city's metro system had shut down.
"That's it. I'm not using SNCF any more," said one exasperated traveller on BFM TV. "I'll take the plane, a taxi or my car. It's over with SNCF."
"We're parents, we have a baby, it's been awful. We'll never use the TGV again" said another woman.
SNCF said it had been a "black weekend" on the railways with ten deaths and suicides on its tracks.
On Sunday night a 34-year-old man killed himself and his 19-month-old daughter when he jumped in front of a train in the central Haute Vienne area.
Two brothers were hit by a train on Sunday morning in the Aisne area. One died while the other was seriously injured.
Another woman was killed in the northern Oise area when she was hit by a train after lying on the tracks.