This photograph was taken in 1895 at Montparnasse station, Paris. The Gare Montparnasse became famous for a derailment on October 22, 1895, of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 100 feet of the station concourse, crashed through a two foot thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes 33 feet below where it stood on its nose.
All on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, the fireman and two crewmembers; however, one woman on the street below 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. The conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.
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 .