Patna: Hundreds of passengers aboard an express train in Bihar got a shock when 22 coaches travelled without an engine for more than two kilometres, prompting authorities to order an investigation.

For about an entire hour, the lives of the passengers remained under threat until the engine-less coaches were traced to a village.

The incident took place on the Darbhanga-Samastipur section, under the East Central Railway on Saturday morning.

As per the report, all 22 coaches of the Jaynagar-Puri Express got detached from the engine soon after the train left Jaynagar station at 5am on Saturday, with its next stop scheduled at Madhubani.

Over the next hour, the train bogies continued travelling at high speed without the engine, putting the lives of passengers in danger.

The driver of the train somehow noticed the fault and increased the speed of the engine to avoid collision from the train coaches rolling behind at a considerable pace, witnesses said. After much effort, the driver stopped the engine at the next station at Khajauli, about half a kilometre from Behta village outer signal, where all coaches came to a halt, much to the relief of the travelling passengers.

Senior officials were instantly apprised of the incident and the engine was brought back on the same track near the coaches and attached.

It was then that the train resumed its onward journey.

“The engine got detached from the train coaches possibly due to the breaking of coupling. An investigation has been ordered into the incident,” local station superintendent Awadhesh Kumar told journalists on Sunday.

The senior divisional commercial manager for Samastipur, Birendra Kumar, said the Railways’ safety and mechanical department had been asked to investigate the case and submit a report soon.

This is not the first such incident.

In September 2014, a passenger train carrying hundreds of passengers went missing from its track. It was finally traced after 17 days of searches.

The Gorakhpur-Muzaffarpur passenger train “went missing” from Hajipur on the night of August 25 after the derailment of a goods train led to the diversion of several trains on other routes.

As this train began taking a new route, the passengers quickly got off — and the train was reported “missing”. After 17 days of searching by the railways, the missing train was finally found at a railway station in another division, 17 days later.