The First World War and the Armistice

The 1914 - 18 war played havoc to the services of Wagons-Lits and with the revolution in Russia the company lost a great number of its cars. The German Railways, having seized Wagons-Lits vehicles, allowed German railway companies to establish new services using the Wagons-Lits cars. The French army requisitioned many cars for use in ambulance trains and also for use as headquarters trains. Wagons-Saloon No.2419, having been specially converted by Wagons-Lits, was added to Marshal Foch's head quarters train. The requisitioned coach No. 2419 then secured its place in history as the coach in which the Germans signed The Armistice in the Forest of Compiegne. Following its de-requisitioned the coach was given to the French Government for display, initially in Paris and later in a purpose built display house in the Forest of Compiegne.

Forrest Clearing at Compiegne

The Forest clearing at Compiegne where the armistice was signed, although at this time it was thick forest with two adjacent tracks used for rail mounted guns. Marshal Fochs train of Wagons-Lits being on one track, the Germans in French carriages on the other connected with duck boards as the ground was swampy.

Portion of the plaque from the original coach which was subsequently destroyed by the Germans during the 2nd World War.

Portion of the plaque from the original coach which was subsequently destroyed by the Germans during the 2nd World War.

The rebuilt museum building to the original design in which the substitute coach is displayed.

The rebuilt museum building to the original design in which the substitute coach is displayed.

Armistice Car 

Coach VR 24** currently displayed in place of the original VR2419.

After World War l, Wagons-Lits recovered most of its standard gauge cars except some which had been sold to Mitropa. However almost all the Russian cars were lost including 198 sleeping cars, 51 Dinning cars and 12 Fourgons.