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 four persons dead and 11 others injured near Vyasarpadi Jeeva station in city's northwestern suburbs.
As the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) 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 that there will be a probe into the accident.
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 dut to the accident.
Many trains were running late at least by three hours, officials said.
Miscreants Behind Accident: Railways
The Southern Railway said "miscreants" were behind today's accident involving a suburban Electric Multiple Unit and a goods train at Vyasarpadi near here that left four persons dead.
Southern Railway spokesperson M Bupathy said in a release here that an "empty rake was started from Moore Market Complex by unauthorised miscreants. Four persons have died of which one person has been identified as M Mohan Raj," the release said.
Earlier reports said six persons were killed in the accident.
A total of 11 people, including five passengers of the train, had suffered injuries. The rest were standing on the platform, he said in the release.
Five persons sustained "grievous injuries", he said, adding, the injured were being treated at Railway Hospital, Perambur and Government Hospital in the city.
"An inquiry to establish further details regarding the accident has been ordered," he said.
Following the accident, traffic has been affected on the Chennai-Arakonam route and many in-bound and out-bound trains from Chennai Central have been rescheduled, he added.