CHANDRAPUR: A major tragedy was averted when a railway engine travelled at breakneck speed without its driver for 6km on an industrial track in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district on Saturday.
The runaway engine crashed three gates out of four on the level crossings falling on the route but there were no casualties. The engine finally halted on its own on an incline near Mahatardevi village.
The engine stopped about 6 to 8 km from the main railway line, GRP inspector, Chandrapur, Avinash Sinha, said that it couldn’t have gone on to the main track without a green signal due to the interlocking tracks. At the most, it would have derailed at the junction where it met the main line.
The engine driver Vyankati stepped off the engine on the premises of the ACC cement factory in Ghugus at 12 pm and left the engine idling as standard practice. The engine on its own started moving out on the railway track leading out of the factory. Vyankati immediately altered the plant authorities and who reported the matter to the police and administration before launching a search for the engine.
The engine first crashed the railway gate at the crossing on the factory premises. It then brought down another gate on the crossing near Ghugus police station. Then it crossed a third railway crossing. All the gates were still up and vehicles were crossing the track when the engine hurtled through. The roar of the diesel engine seems to have stopped motorists and avoid casualties. Investigators suspect of failure in the brakes as the cause for the incident.
“All four railway crossings in the engine’s route have heavy rush during the day. This industrial track meets the main railway line at Tadali, a few km from the place where the engine stopped. The diesel engine roaring at full volume startled the people who got alarmed and immediately clear the track as the engine passed by,” said eyewitness Brijbhushan Pazare.
The engine is owned by ACC cement factory and was used to carrying containers and wagons within the premises of the cement plant.
Pazare said that the heavily built Mahatardevi railway gate brought down the speed of the engine and it stopped on its own on the incline.
Railway authorities have seized the faulty engine and initiated investigations into the case.