Train robbery bid foiled

ELURU, MAY 7. A group of a dozen people attempted to rob passengers of the Hyderabad-bound Godavari and Gautami express trains near the Badampudi railway station in West Godavari district last night. Three passengers lodged a complaint with the railway police that gold ornaments weighing 15 sovereigns were snatched by the gang. No incident of physical assault on the passengers was reported.

According to reports, the Godavari Express which left the Tadepalligudem station at 9.55 pm was forced to halt at the Badampudi station at 9.59 pm due to signal failure. The gang was said to have damaged the signal system to detain the trains.

In the meantime, the passengers of bogies next to the guard car heard pelting of stones. The guard, Mr. B. Nageswara Rao, who sensed trouble, alerted the passengers and mobilised five youths from the general compartment to resist the attempts of the gang. The gang, which witnessed some activity in the guard car, pelted stones in that direction too. The miscreants could not enter the bogies as passengers locked the doors.

According to the railway police, the miscreants, who spread in groups, snatched two gold chains from Mrs. Ramavathi, a passenger from Visakhapatnam, who was sleeping next to the window in the women's compartment.

The guard made frantic calls to the station authorities through the wireless system to make arrangements for piloting the train manually since both the main and alternative signal systems had broken down. The train left the place 25 minutes later after the station master issued written instructions allowing the train to proceed.

The Gautami Express, which arrived there immediately after the Godavari Express, was also held up due to signal failure. One Mr. Purushotham lodged a complaint that the gang snatched a chain from his mother travelling in the S-14 coach.