SEMARANG, Central Java: Railway workers at Poncol station could not believe their eyes when a locomotive, ready to draw a Jakarta-bound train at dawn on Sunday, moved off with the drivers nowhere to be seen on the roaring engine.
Panic reigned when nobody could run fast enough to catch the 3-year-old loco as it accelerated wildly westward.
The news came 15 minutes later, at 4:15 a.m, that the 80-ton engine had gone off the rails near Kaliwungu station in Kendal, 17 kilometers to the west. The engine crushed a goat pen, ploughed through fishponds and smashed the roofs of three houses before it plunged into a paddy field.
Two people were slightly injured by the flying tiles when the loco hit the lower part of their roof. Along the way, it passed through at least eight railway crossings and two substations at an estimated speed of 100 kilometers an hour.
Catastrophic incidents were avoided partly because the authorities in Semarang contacted their colleagues in Kendal who redirected the locomotive onto unused tracks, the Semarang chapter of KAI spokesman Surono said.
“Our technicians were doing last-minute preparatory checks when the loco started moving after the engine was switched on,” Surono said as quoted by tempo.co. “This is strange and we are investigating what went wrong.”
He said the tracks from Poncol to the west slope downward but why the unmanned engine accelerated so fast remained unknown. Source: This Odd World, The Jakarta Post