I took the fabled french TGV which was relatively new at the time. Unfortunately the crossing and signals had not yet been adapted to the high speed of the train. A huge lorry with an industrial transformer on it (i.e. several tons of solid steel) got stuck between the barriers which closed only shortly before the TGV arrived.
There was a massive thump (which we all thought was annoying ... stupid
french train drivers, mumble mumble ...) until the train started juddering
(having left the rails), the luggage started to come down, dogs and bits
of the walls came flying through the compartment, the windows shattered
and we all cowered quitely (no screaming and panic - this was no horror
movie; this was real) in the foetal position until the train stopped. Then
those who could, got out (quite calmly, after picking up our belongings)
and then started shaking violently.
|The Transformer (green thing at the front) knocked away by the force of the train|
|Inside the compartments|
|The carriages from the outside|
|A rail that got bent by the force of the accident - back into a compartment|
|Lots of flics inspecting the damage|
|What was left of the famous TGV nose|
I got away unscathed, except for a large taxi bill to the next station
and lots of broken glass in all the pockets of my suit.
Some people were not so lucky: some, including - obviously - the train driver were killed and dozens sitting in the first class carriage at the front were injured, some very badly. The moral is: take a carriage towards the back of the train, sit with your back towards the direction of travel and avoid french trains.
If you enjoyed this, you will also enjoy the tale of the Terrorist Attack I survived