The incident reminds of the Hollywood thriller – Unstoppable. This happened at Wadi near Gulbarga in Karnataka. Ghost engine runs away on its own, loco pilot chases after it on a bike in dramatic chase and stops it.
The Mumbai Mail from Chennai arrived at Wadi Junction station at around 3 pm on Wednesday. The electric line ends at Wadi and so a diesel engine is attached to the bogies for the journey from Wadi to Sholapur. The electric engine was detached from the bogies at platform No. 4 and the train continued on its way to Mumbai.
The loco pilot of the electric engine that was still standing at the platform stepped out around 3.30pm. Within moments, the engine took off on its own as an aghast loco pilot looked on in disbelief. The Wadi station authorities immediately informed the next few stations to clear the signals and tracks and stop trains coming from the opposite direction. A driverless electric railway engine ran upto 13km from Wadi station in Kalaburagi on Wednesday before the panicked loco pilot rode after it and brought it around. In a dramatic ‘chase’ lasting 20 minutes, the driver followed the engine on a bike and caught up with it around a kilometre ahead of the next station, Nalwar.
The electric engine was cruising at 30kmph and the Wadi station manager and the loco pilot set off after the runaway engine on a bike. The dramatic chase finally ended at around 3.50pm as the engine slowed. The loco pilot clambered onto the moving engine and managed to stop it.
Stopping the electricity supply is not a straight-forward process. The line is connected to the grid and such high loads cannot be randomly connected or disconnected from the grid without making appropriate arrangements.All sections along the route have to be switched off or else it can be dangerous if the loco passes from a powered section to a section that has been shutdown. They could have just diverted it towards a sand-trap or any dead-end siding which again would have been a risky action.