Indian train driver asks passengers to push

PATNA, India Wed May 16, 2007 10:10am BST

Commuters walk on a railway track in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata February 26, 2007. Hundreds of Indian rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal

Commuters walk on a railway track in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata February 26, 2007. Hundreds of Indian rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push.

Credit: Reuters/Parth Sanyal

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PATNA, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of Indian rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push.

It took more than half an hour to move the stalled electric train 12 feet (4 metres) so that it touched live overhead wires and was able to resume its journey, officials said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in the eastern state of Bihar on Tuesday after a passenger pulled the train's emergency chain and it halted in a "neutral zone", a short length of track where there is no power in the overhead wires.

"In so many years of service in the railways, I have never come across such a bizarre incident," said Deepak Kumar Jha, a spokesman for Indian Railways.

A train's momentum usually allows it to continue moving through neutral zones.

India's rail network carries more than 15 million people daily -- more than the combined population of Norway and Sweden -- but its safety record often comes in for criticism.

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