In a bizarre rail accident, an "unauthorised man" ran an electric train for about seven kms unnoticed before ramming it into a goods train, leaving six persons dead and 11 others injured near Vyasarpadi Jeeva station in Chennai's northwestern suburbs.
As the Electric Multiple Unit parked in the Moore Market complex was about to be moved by the unauthorised man, some passengers boarded the train believing it was a regular service, Railway sources said.
Southern Railway General Manager M S Jayanth said the train started "unauthorisedly" half-an-hour earlier than scheduled and went on a wrong line, colliding with a departmental train hauling empty wagons.
The train was to start at 5:15 am. How it happened is a matter of inquiry, Jayantan said.
On seeing the fast approaching EMU towards them, two drivers of the goods train jumped off the locomotive. Railway officials at the accident spot said the speed instrument of the EMU showed it had clocked 91 km/h at the time of mishap.
While two compartments of the EMU were destroyed in a fire that was triggered by the collision, the rest with a few passengers were thrown off the tracks. The sources said they were 'puzzled' over the incident as the train had to pass two railway stations including the important Basin Bridge junction.
Eleven persons including two drivers of the goods train were admitted to different hospitals.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said the accident would be probed. Some bodies were believed to be trapped inside the train, the sources said adding fire and rescue services personnel were using welding equipment to break open some mangled compartments.
People living near the tracks were also helping the injured. Railway tracks at the Jeeva station were twisted due to the impact of the collision. Inter-state and suburban train services on the mishap route have been affected due to the accident. Many trains were running late at least by three hours, the officials said.