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Panic as unmanned train engine speeds off along Nairobi-Ruiru railway before stalling

By CYRUS OMBATI | Feb 11th 2016 | 2 min read

Nairobi, Kenya: There was panic along the Nairobi-Ruiru railway line when an unmanned engine sped off on the network on Wednesday evening.

Officials said the engine’s braking system had failed at the Makadara station forcing the driver and an engineer to jump off as it sped towards Githurai.

Railway commandant Kirimi Ringera said the engine went and stalled near Githurai in Mwiki area at a slope after losing momentum almost ten kilometres away.

Police who had been informed of the incident alerted their colleagues on the route to ask them to tell passengers who wanted to board the train to keep off.

The driver and the engineer who were in the engine managed to get into another one that was at the scene and trailed the unmanned one while hooting from a distance warning pedestrians and motorists at various level crossing to keep off, Ringera said.

“It was a relief because it stalled without causing damage to property or injuring anybody. We feared it could ram onto a car or veer off and land on houses and cause serious damages,” said Ringera.

He added the incident happened as the driver was aligning the engine to attach wagons. It was then that the engine started to move with the brakes failing forcing the driver and engineer to jump off.

The incident took place during rush hour and there were fears the engine could cause havoc. Witnesses said it was moving at high speed and gaining momentum before it finally stalled at a slope.

The engine is one of the aging ones that the management use in ferrying passengers and cargo. The management is in the process of modernising the engines and wagons for better service delivery.

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