Transfer of detainees, Banque de France dam: the most unusual journeys of the drivers of the little Cahors train

the essential
No journey is the same. For thirty years, the drivers of the little train of Cahors have seen all the colors for better and for worse. But often for the better. Sylvain Ginier, the manager and Alain Darnis, one of the two drivers, deliver their anthology.

With each departure, a new adventure begins. Poorly parked cars blocking traffic, streets blocked off for such and such an event… The drivers of the little Cahors train never know what they are going to encounter. And as much to say that in thirty years of journeys, and with seven journeys a day since the beginning of the summer, they have had some unusual experiences.

Stuck due to the changeover to the Euro

What comes first to the mind of Sylvain Ginier, the former driver who now drives the boats of the Fénelon company and manager of the company which also brings together the little train from Cahors, is the passage from Franc to the euro. We are in January 2002. The driver embarks a group on board the little train in the rue Wilson and finds himself blocked in front of the Banque de France. “There I see armored vans, dogs, an impressive device, I wonder what’s going on,” he recalls. What is happening: the transition from the Franc to the Euro. “We witnessed the transfer of tickets live, it was striking to see and also quite moving,” he says. For a good twenty minutes the little train and its passengers thus witnessed the spectacle which marked a turning point in the history of Europe.

The transfer of detainees to Montauban

In 2012 this time, rue du Château du Roi, another event will immobilize the little train. The Cahors prison closes its doors: all prisoners must be transferred to the Montauban remand center. “There was no signage so I got involved and then suddenly I realize what is happening so I tell the story of the street to the passengers and I take the opportunity to tell them the story of Madame Claude, the famous madam mother who was locked up for several months in a cell of this oldest prison in France for tax evasion, there is always something to tell, this is also what makes the magic of the unexpected “, explains Sylvain Ginier. The incredulous passengers then observe the ballet of prison vehicles and prisoners. They live the last hours of the Via palace, the prison of Cahors.

The former composer of Edith Piaf makes the show

Alain Darnis, who now drives the little train and takes turns with Carlou, remembers an impromptu meeting with Charles Dumont, the former composer of Edith Piaf, singer and performer from Cahors. “During my visits, I like to play with local personalities and one afternoon in 2019, we came across Charles Dumont, rue du château du roi, who had come to unveil the plaque of his birthplace. He was at Cahors on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the cathedral. At the microphone, I introduced him to the passengers and then he played the game of the visit”, he slips. Another day, his colleague Carlou drove Fabien Galthié, the coach of the XV of France who was born in Cahors. “There is a real complicity between the driver and the passengers, the public is always good-natured,” notes Alain Darnis. On the seats of the little train also sat Abdelatif Benazzi, a former player of the XV and Philippe Benetton, a former international rugby player.

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