How It Works

What caused the train wreck at Montparnasse in 1895?

This incredible photo of the wreck at Gare Montparnasse in Paris shows a very dramatic scene of a train that has crashed through the wall and partially tumbled to the street. The cause? Both mechanical failure and human error. The train was late, so the driver had it pull into the station at a high speed. It had two different types of braking systems: handbrakes and an air brake known as a Westinghouse brake. The conductor realised that the train was going too fast and applied the Westinghouse brake, however it didn’t work. He then waited too long to use the handbrakes, which weren’t sufficient due to the weight and speed of the train. The locomotive crashed through a wall and the first few cars fell towards the street below. Amazingly, only a few passengers and train employees were injured, though one pedestrian on the road below was killed.

Answered by Shanna Freeman.




  • Roni Kempler

    I am quite sure that the painting’s subject is Leonardo’s mother Caterina in a distant memory. She died in 1495. Lisa del Giocondo’s job was to be the model only.

    Leonardo da Vinci was a great scientist as well a great artist. He possessed excellent memory and very lively imagination. His work shows integrity and belief in his self expressions.

    At the time that Leonardo painted the portrait of his mother, whom he adored, she had already died. This is the reason why Leonardo chose the setting of the Holy Land, as he imagined it, as the background to the portrait. (The Jordan River is painted to her right and the Sea of Galilee to her left). See: Cross and Yarn-Winder.

    The idea is that she was alive in Leonardo’s imagination.

    This is similar to the background of Leonardo’s paintings of the Virgin Mary, which also depict the same landscape of the Holy Land.Thus, Leonardo glorifies the Mona Lisa as the Virgin Mary. See: Leonardo glorifies Salai as Saint John the Baptist.

    Leonardo kept the portrait with him wherever he traveled, until his death. So, the Mona Lisa was a significant woman in Leonardo’s life.Leonardo pictured his mother, who raised him until age five, in painting the Virgin Mary.

    So, she was the only significant woman in Leonardo’s life, hence deserved to be glorified as the Virgin Mary.

    In all of his paintings (except Annunciation), the Virgin Mary looks at her son. In this painting she looks at the painter.

    The conclusion is that the painter is her son.

    During Italian Renaissance Leonardo’s time, it was not acceptable to paint ordinary people, only important people or saint.The woman appearing in the portrait known as Isabella d’Este is actually Leonardo’s mother Caterina in distant memory. The woman appearing in the portrait looks like the Mona Lisa and not like Isabella d’Este. See: Titian, Isabella d’Este, 1534 – 1536. This cartoon which has survived must have been drawn for an important work. See the cartoon in London, National Gallery. The only possible important work we are aware of is the Mona Lisa. Thus, Leonardo glorifies his mother as a respectable woman. See also the veil and the upper dress cut, rounded and not in straight lines.

    I reached these conclusions during my research about Leonardo’s art in 1976.