April 29, 2009 6:25:03 pm
In a mysterious accident,an unspecified number of persons took over a suburban electric train,drove it for about seven kms at high speed before colliding with a goods train head on,killing four persons and injuring 11 others early this morning.
The Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) train was taken out of the Central station here from the suburban Moore Market complex at around 4.50 am,half an hour before schedule.
The train ran at high speed jumping the signal at the next station going on a wrong track before colliding head-on with a Chennai-bound goods train at Vyasarpadi Jeeva station in the north western suburb,two halts from Central,in the Chennai-Arakkonam section.
As the Chennai-Tiruvallur EMU train started moving,some waiting commuters boarded it thinking it was a regular service. Two EMU compartments were destroyed in the fire caused by the collision and rest were thrown off the tracks.
Acting General Manager of Southern Railway M S Jayanth said four persons were killed,but Railway police sources put the figure of dead at six.
While the exact number of those in the driver’s cabin was not known,Jayanth said it was definitely the handiwork of “some knowledgeable miscreants” who had driven the train since it involved operation of four keys,including panel,brake,reversal.
“It is a high-tech machine,” Jayant said but ruled out involvement of a railway driver or other officials. The identity of the miscreants was not known,he said.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety would hold an inquiry.
The train,which should have taken eight minutes to reach Vyasarpadi,reached the station in four minutes,he said adding it indicated the dangerous speed in which it was going.
The bodies,including that of the man who drove the train, were pulled out of badly-mangled cabin two coaches of the EMU train,officials said adding three of them had been identified. Five of the 11 injured have suffered grievous injuries.
The injured included two drivers of the goods train,who jumped out on seeing the EMU train coming on the same track. The injured had been admitted to hospitals,where the condition of five was stated to be serious.
The collision crippled train services in the busy route to Bangalore and western parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Six long-distance express trains bound for various destinations were cancelled while nine trains were partially cancelled.
The General Manager said complete normalcy in the section is likely to be restored only by Thursday.
The train was operated on a wrong track,leading to the collision with the goods train carrying some empty tankers,informed Southern Railways spokesperson Neenu Itterah.
The reason for the accident would be known only after an enquiry,she said.
Vinodh,who lives in the Vysarpadi area,said he heard a loud noise and rushed to the spot and rescued some of the injured before railway officials reached the spot.
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