Friday, June 2, 2017

D Vincent Arockiaraj| TNN | Updated: Jun 1, 2017, 
HIGHLIGHTS

Two locomotives plied without pilots for 10km from Trichy railway junction after an alleged brake failure.
The two engines crossed two railway stations -Palakkarai and Fort -five road overbridges and a river bridge before being stopped.The station manager and others tried to stop the locos by placing stones on the tracks near Palakkarai. Howeve... Read More

TRICHY: In a scene straight out of a Hollywood flick, two locomotives, one propelling the other, plied without pilots for 10km from Trichy railway junction on Wednesday morning after an alleged brake failure, causing panic among railway officials. The out-of-control engines crossed two railway stations -Palakkarai and Fort -five road overbridges and a river bridge before a technician managed to get on to one of them and stop it near Mutharasanallur railway station.

The incident brought back memories of the `hijacking' of a suburban train at Vyasarpadi Jeeva station eight years ago which later rammed a goods train killing four people and leaving 11injured.

However, on Wednesday , the runaway locos didn't cause any accident as no train was scheduled to cross the stretch between Trichy junction and Mutharasanallur when the incident happened. According to railway sources, a shunting loco pilot, Udayachandran, brought two locos (No 40441 and 16881) to platform number 1A from the Ponmalai loco shed to couple them with the Trichy-Erode passenger train around 5.50 am.

While the technical staffs were preparing to couple them, they found that loco No 40441 had developed a snag.Subsequently , the pilot informed the matter to higher officials and a technical team. He was waiting on platform 1A for the team to arrive when all on a sudden loco No 16881 started to move forward pushing the `dead' loco from its rear. A shocked Udayachandran attempted to climb on the engine to bring it to a halt. However, it went in vain as the loco had picked up speed and started moving pushing the other loco along at a speed of approximately 30 km per hour.

Soon, the control room officials alerted all station masters on the section including Fort and Mutharasanallur stations to stop the locos. Employees including station masters waited on their platforms anxiously expecting the `rogue' locos. The station manager and others tried to stop the locos by placing stones on the tracks near Palakkarai. However, their efforts went in vain as the engines crushed the stones and passed the stretch. Finally , as the locos were crossing Fort station, a technician managed to climb inside. He brought the two locos to a halt after passing the last stopping signal (LSS) before Mutharasanallur railway station, 10 kms away from Trichy junction around 6.05 am. The entire divisional officials could heave a sigh of relief only after that.

Since the loco crossed LSS, officials technically termed the incident as Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD), which is considered to be an accident.Divisional railway manager Udaykumar Reddy rushed to the spot and conducted an inquiry . Later, he ordered a probe into the incident.

When contacted, Udaykumar Reddy told TOI that a snag in the loco had led to the incident. "The shunting driver was in the loco and he tried his best to stop the engine. However, we are yet to ascertain whether it was equipment failure or human failure.

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