Rail engine runs 13 km without driver

Kalaburagi: In a shocking sequence of event, a driverless electric railway engine ran nearly 13 km here on Wednesday from the Wadi station in Kalaburagi. The engine was stopped when the panicked loco pilot chased it and brought it around. The dramatic chase lasted for nearly 20 minutes. The driver chased the engine on a bike and caught up with it around a kilometre ahead of the next station, Nalwar

According to a report in "The Times of India", The Mumbai Mail from Chennai, with passenger bogies, had arrived at Wadi around 3pm. The electric line ends at Wadi and a diesel engine is attached to the bogies for the journey from Wadi to Solapur. As usual, the engine was detached from the bogies at platform No. 4 and the train went on its way. The electric engine was standing at the platform and the loco pilot stepped out around 3.30pm. Within moments, the engine was moving on its own as an aghast loco pilot looked on.

Wadi station authorities immediately informed the next few stations to clear the signals and tracks and stop trains coming from the opposite direction. With the engine cruising along at 30kmph, Wadi station manager JN Paris and the loco pilot set off on a bike. It also crossed two manual railway gates.

The chase ended around 3.50pm as the engine slowed. The loco pilot clambered onto the engine and managed to stop it. Paris said the runaway engine could have caused a major accident had it run into a train coming from the opposite direction.

Railway authorities were tight-lipped on how the engine had slipped away and if an inquiry had been ordered.