|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Jean-Marc Regny|
|Area1||16.98 km2 (6.56 sq mi)|
|• Density||170/km2 (430/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||42011 / 42510|
|Elevation||314–482 m (1,030–1,581 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Balbigny owes its name to a Roman general named Balbinius who based himself here in order to conduct a war. Nothing survives from this period. The earliest identified traces of Balbigny date from 1090.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before the Loire was channelled, Balbigny was a village of boatmen, known for flat bottomed boats known as Rambertes which were used to transport the coal mined at Saint-Étienne. The loaded Rambertes arrived from Saint-Rambert and stopped off at Balbigny where the boat crews were changed, taking the boats to the next change-over point at Roanne. All this changed in August 1832 with the arrival of the third oldest railway line in France which connected Andrézieux-Bouthéon with Roanne, passing Balbigny en route. An extension of the rail network in 1913 saw Balbigny connected with Saint-Germain-Laval and Régny. The coal was therefore transported by rail, but the railway also gave farmers in the district access to a wider range of markets for their produce.
The road bridge crossing the Loire was destroyed in 1940 in order to hold back advancing German troops, and a ferry service was introduced to permit the river to be crossed. The bridge was rebuilt in 1950.
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