The Versailles rail accident occurred on May 8, 1842 in the cutting between Meudon and Bellevue stations on the railway between Versailles and Paris, France. Following King Louis Philippe I's celebrations at the Palace of Versailles, a train returning to Paris derailed at Meudon, after the leading locomotive broke an axle, and the carriages behind piled into it and caught fire. The first French railway accident and the deadliest in the world at the time, it caused between 52 and 200 deaths including that of the explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville and his wife Adèle Dumont D'Urville. The accident led the French to abandon the practice of locking passengers in their carriages.
Metal fatigue cracking was poorly understood at the time and the accident is linked to the beginnings of systematic research into the problem.
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