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Rail engine goes on a ‘monkeyride’

It was not exactly a joyride, for it was a monkey that was riding it. Workers at the Northern Railway workshop in Lucknow were shocked and surprised to see a rail engine moving for several hundred metres before it was derailed and trapped in a bog after hitting two other rail engines standing on the same track.

Well, there was a driver inside. Surprisingly, it was a monkey.
Though there was no casualty, the authorities suspended a railway shuntman, Mata Prasad, and ordered an inquiry into the incident. According to eyewitnesses and employees of the workshop, a monkey entered the cabin of the engine and pulled the lever.

Railway sources said the shuntman had started the engine for shunting before leaving it on Tuesday night. Since the area is inhabited by a large number of monkeys, some of them may have managed to get inside, and the lever might have been pulled.

The moving engine got derailed after around 700 metres and hit two other engines on the same track before getting trapped in a bog. Had the engine travelled a few metres more, it would have run over a row of shops on the adjacent road, sources said.

Prasad said he tried to get into the cabin when he saw the moving engine but slipped as it was raining. He sustained minor injuries.

Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Chahte Ram has ordered a high level inquiry into the incident. “Only a thorough inquiry could reveal if the lever was pulled by a monkey,” railway sources said. Senior railway officials, however, refused to comment on the incident

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