Janakpur Train rattles along track sans driver

JANAKPURDHAM: The only railway service in the country — the Janakpur-Jaynagar rail — has its own oddities, but today it belched out one more. It made Janakpur locals catch sight of a fright as a train engine rattled along the track and completed a 29-km journey all alone, even without the driver.

This afternoon, the train was set to leave for Janakpur from Jaynagar. According to Er Saroj Kumar Hathi of the Loco Department, assistant driver Jagadish Khatwe, who was on duty, was putting oil when the engine just began to move without bogies.

It usually takes two-and-a-half hours for the train to cover the 29-km Janakpur-Jaynagar stretch, but the engine sans driver completed the distance in 45 minutes, leaving everyone who caught the sight amazed and frightened. According to Hathi, the auto-speeding train engine could not be stopped on the way due to lack of technicians and necessary equipment. “When it reached Janakpur, we switched the engine to a damaged track where its wheels got stuck on the ground bringing the engine to a halt,” said Hathi.

After receiving the information on the runaway train engine, CDO Basant Raj Gautam, and chiefs of local security bodies, along with security personnel in huge numbers, had reached the Janakpur station, which already had drawn locals in droves.

Though no one was injured, today’s incident once again reflects how ill-managed the country’s only rail system is. Hathi said

mobilising the six train drivers was his duty but added that

he could not keep track of who was doing what.

Passengers who were set to board the train were stranded in Jaynagar station but were happy to have avoided a deadly ride. by BRIJ KUMAR YADAV,THT

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