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53-wagon freight train runs for over 70 km from Kathua to Punjab without drivers

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STATE TIMES NEWS

KATHUA: A diesel locomotive-hauled freight train travelled more than 70 kilometres Kathua to a village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district without its drivers on Sunday, officials said.
No casualty or damage to property has been reported, they said and added that an inquiry has been ordered into the incident that took place between 7.25 am and 9 am.
The 53-wagon train loaded with chip stones was on its way to Punjab from Jammu, the officials said.
The train had stopped at the Kathua railway station in Jammu for a driver change and it seems that it began to roll down a slope gradient track on the Jammu-Jalandhar section, a spokesperson of the Northern Railway said, citing preliminary information.
Both drivers — loco pilot and assistant loco pilot — were not on board the freight train, the officials said.
The train gained speed along the way, finally coming to a stop on a steep gradient near Unchi Bassi railway station in Punjab, they said.

Divisional Traffic Manager, Jammu, Prateek Srivastava told PTI that “an inquiry has been initiated to know the exact cause of the incident. Prima facie, it seems that the train started rolling down the slope gradient towards Punjab without the driver and his assistant”.
He said the train came to a halt near Unchi Bassi due to steep gradient, after covering a distance of more than 70 km.
The officials said that the train was successfully halted with the assistance of sandbags.
Whether the train had been “secured” properly at Kathua on the down gradient is a matter of investigation, the spokesperson said and added that an in-depth probe is underway.
Railway officials and staffers were put on alert along the route.
Government Railway Police (Jalandhar) Sub-Inspector Ashok Kumar said upon receiving information about the runaway train all rail-road crossings on the Jalandhar-Pathankot section were secured.

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