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12 Suicides in 3 Days: A “Dark Weekend” for the SNCF

Translated Tuesday 5 June 2012, by Holden Ferry and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The delays that were affecting TGV lines between Paris and the south of France this past Pentecost weekend are now over, but what remains is a statistic that explains the cause of the delays and which perhaps speaks volumes about the state of French society: About a dozen people committed suicide on the train tracks over the past three days.

Late Sunday night, a 34-year-old man killed himself and his 19-month-old daughter by jumping in front of a train in the Haute-Vienne department. A “separation drama,” according to the police. At almost the same time, the Quimper-Paris route was disrupted by the suicide of a 29-year-old man.

Early Sunday morning, two brothers were struck by a train in the Aisne department. One of them died and the other was seriously injured. Still Sunday, at dawn, another person was killed by a TGV in the Oise department. She had laid down on the tracks. As for TGV 6181 (from Paris en route to Marseille), it “struck a person near the TGV station in Valence,” according to the police.

Everyone needs to be asking themselves why this is happening

The spokesman for the SNCF called the three days of Pentecost “a dark weekend…with a dozen train-related deaths and suicides.” “Now, everyone needs to be asking themselves why this is happening, including the SNCF. But I also think that society needs to ask itself why, during a period such as this, are we seeing a wave of accidents that is so surprising to everyone and that is probably leaving everyone feeling a little disoriented,” said Michel Pronost on Europe 1.

Train traffic was back to normal on Tuesday morning throughout all of France.

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