SRINAGAR: In a bizarre incident that seemingly stole part of the 2010 American disaster action thriller film Unstoppable’s plot, a goods train stationed in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, set off on an unexpected journey, rolling 84 kilometres without a driver. The multi-hour drama came to a halt when the train halted at a steep gradient in Mukerian, Punjab..

Banihal Railway station

The diesel locomotive-hauled train, loaded with concrete, began its journey downhill towards Pathankot after its driver and co-driver, pilot and the co-pilot, paused for a tea break at Kathua station, inadvertently leaving the engine running.

Efforts to stop the train proved futile initially, but it was eventually halted near Unchi Bassi in Mukerian, Punjab, with the assistance of railway staff and emergency brakes. Railway police promptly closed all crossings along the route to prevent road traffic mishaps.

An investigation into the incident has been launched by railway authorities, focusing on whether the train was properly secured at Kathua station and the exact cause of the locomotive’s unexpected movement. No casualties or property damage were reported during the incident, which occurred between 7:25 am and 9:00 am.

The Rail Bridge at Reasi is tallest than Eiffel Tower and is world’s highest railway bridge. KL Image: Umer Dar

A preliminary investigation by Hoshiarpur suggested the railway staff Dasuya stopped train number 14806R at Uchi Bassi, falling under police station Dasuya by placing wood blocks on railway track as speed of train was reduced. “This train operates with diesel. After starting the train, the driver went somewhere but he forgot to put hand break due to which train moved and got speed itself,” the report said.

The runaway train, comprising 53 wagons loaded with chip stones, reached speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour as it travelled through villages and stations, alarming residents and railway officials alike. While initial reports suggest the train began its journey due to a slope gradient track and the absence of the driver and assistant, a comprehensive inquiry is underway to ascertain all factors contributing to the unprecedented incident.

Railway police officials told reporters that after the alarm was sounded, all traffic intersections were closed and some mechanical methods were employed to slow down the train that has the routine speed of 100 kms per hour.

Railway authorities have assured heightened vigilance and security measures along the affected route to prevent similar occurrences in the future. As the investigation unfolds, questions arise regarding the protocols for securing trains during routine stops and the measures needed to prevent such incidents from recurring.


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