A passenger train moved 10 km without its engine in Odisha on the night of Saturday, April 7. The incident came to light at 10 pm when railway officials noticed the Ahmedabad-Puri Express moving sans an engine from the Titlagarh station to Kesinga railway station.
The train's engine was detached for reversal at the Titlagarh railway station. As the railway officials failed to apply the skid-brakes, the coaches began to move due to a downward slope at the station, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
However, the railway officials' alertness brought the train to a halt. They put stones on the railway tracks to stop the train. The authorities confirmed there were no casualties and all the passengers were safe.
"All passengers are safe and no one was hurt when the coaches moved towards Kesinga after the engine was detached to be attached at the other end of the train," an East Coast Railway spokesperson was quoted by PTI as saying.
The railway spokesperson confirmed to the news agency that the two railway employees who were responsible for the incident have been suspended by Sambalpur's divisional railway manager (DRM). The employees had failed to add the engine to the coaches and carry out the shunting process.
"When the engine is detached to be attached at the other end, the coaches should be secured with skids at the wheels. In this case, it appears that the skids have not been placed properly. Facts will be known after detailed inquiry," East Coast Railway sources were quoted by Times of India as saying. A senior official-level inquiry was ordered into the matter.
After the train came to a halt, another engine was sent at 11 pm to continue the journey.
In a similar incident that took place November 8 last year, an electric engine moved 13 km without a loco pilot at Karnataka's Kalaburagi.
The incident took place when the Chennai-Mumbai Mail reached Wadi station in the Kalaburagi district around 3 pm. While the railway officials were engaged in changing the engine, the diesel locomotive started moving in the opposite direction without the driver, the Hindu reported.
However, the engine was brought to a halt after two alert railway officials took the matter into their own hands and followed the locomotive on a bike in a dramatic chase. One among the duo managed to clamber onto the speeding engine and managed to stop it.