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Indian teen takes a 115-km reverse train ride.

NEW DELHI, July 20 Kyodo

An Indian teenager drove a nine-coach train in the reverse for over an hour early Friday in the northern Indian state Uttar Pradesh, killing one person and seriously injuring another in an act that is ''a shocking commentary on railway safety,'' the Times of India reported.

The 17-year-old Hindu pilgrim took over the empty train from a shunting yard at Madudih near the holy city of Varanasi and began fiddling with the various levers. Soon the engine started moving in reverse gear and gathered speed as the teen was unable to find the proper controls.

After railway officials were alerted of the wayward train, they ordered all stations to let it pass until a trap point could be activated that would derail it.

The runaway train managed to pass 13 railway stations during the 115-km ride before authorities managed to derail it before Allahabad, another major holy city, possibly preventing heavy loss of human lives and property.

The miscreant, his arrest, said ''God'' had helped in preventing any major disaster while he was at the controls.

The shunt driver, who apparently was shirking, has been suspended following the teenager's ride. Rail authorities have ordered an inquiry into the accident.

A similar incident occurred in 1992 when a train carrying cattle started to move toward Bareilly, another town in Uttar Pradesh, after someone pressed the start lever while the engine driver was away.

Indian railway authorities have often been accused over a poor safety record and a number of serious accidents in recent years.

The last one in the southern state Kerala in June left more than 50 dead and several others injured.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jul 23, 2001
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