Unwanted double bass on SNCF trains

Several musicians have been refused to embark their instrument in their professional trips.

by Francis Marmande

Why do SNCF controllers lead an impossible life to double bassists? Why do they do too much? It is not the artist who chooses however, but indeed the double bass that chooses his artist. The controllers may design some despite it. The story of Stanislas Kuchinski, double bass player at the Paris Orchestra since 2002, questions. The musician is part of Sirba Octet, renowned set of Klezmer music. Or, about twenty years of study, thousands of hours of development of a personal “sound” with this round belly and this curved back, fragile like a greenhouse.

On Friday January 28, 2022, Stanislas Kuchinski took 8361 at 1:42 p.m., towards La Rochelle (4:2 p.m.). Its set – eight tickets of 1 re sup> class and as many large traveler cards – occurs, the same evening at La Coursive, the national scene of La Rochelle. The bass player will remain next to the instrument on the platform, between two cars, so as not to bother. Stanislas Kuchinski has just passed, Réglo, control of the vaccination pass and that of the ticket.

Fourteen minutes before departure, a controller spots him and asks him to go down. Kuchinski parliament, the car is almost empty, the few travelers installed support it, nothing helps. The musician proposes to settle a fine so as not to compromise the concert, the controller refuses.

Here it is, who returns with a police officer – rather embarrassed to the surroundings. Other controllers demonstrate, on board other trains, common sense, even empathy. That of 8361, he takes himself for his function. Kuchinski goes down, returns home, takes his car, rallies La Rochelle in five thirty-two minutes, 44 euros in toll, carbon footprint at the top. Night return, after the concert.

“Three plums at 50 euros”

This rail zeal is however frequent and the misadventure strikes at random. Strasbourg, November 6: Bruno Chevillon, international renowned double bass player, has just triumphs with Lady M, the opera of Marc Ducret: “For a few months, I have taken three plums at 50 euros, one to 150, a lot of sermons , sometimes it goes well … I may tell them that I have managed to parade for SNCF staff, there are inflexible controllers … “The fine is a little happiness.

According to its regulations, the SNCF accepts scooters, electric bikes, surfing boards, skis, strollers, wheelchairs, fishing rods … “Special Luggage” should not exceed 2 meters. A petition circulates (45,000 signatures) , the cellos are now tolerated. But not the double bass. Seven senators worried. Three commissions from the Ministry of Transport met two commissions from the Ministry of Culture. No result. The doctrine of the SNCF remains clearer than the regulations, in the words of the CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou: “The climate emergency requires us a total commitment!”

/Media reports cited above.