Train Carrying 1K People Rolls 7 Miles Without Engine

Rocks in tracks helped avert disaster
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2018 4:32 AM CDT

Seven railway workers in India have been suspended for causing a near-disaster—while others deserve praise for stopping it. The terrifying incident happened Saturday night, when a train carrying 22 carriages and around 1,000 passengers rolled away after becoming detached from the engine and sped backward for 7 miles before it was stopped by rocks placed on the tracks by workers, AFP reports. In video taken as the train rolled through a station, onlookers and passengers can be heard screaming and shouting. Railway officials say operators inside the train were able to apply the emergency hand brake as it lost velocity approaching an upward slope and hit the obstacles on the tracks, reports CNN.

There were no reports of injuries. Railway officials say that after the Ahmedabad-Puri train rolled away in Odisha state in northeast India, control staff radioed ahead to make sure the tracks were clear in the next two stations. "Something ghastly could have happened and it was averted by alert staff," says a railway ministry spokesman, who promises heads will roll over the incident. "Safety cannot be compromised," he says. Investigators believe the train rolled away because staff failed to deploy skid brakes on the carriages while a new engine was being attached, the Hindu reports. (More train stories.)

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