Throwing a challenge to the Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) authorities, an unidentified gang in the small hours of Tuesday made a vain bid to rob the Tirupati-bound Venkatadri Express passengers at the Vemulapadu railway station of Yadiki mandal, 40 km from here. This is the third incident after June 22 (both the Rayalaseema and the Venkatadri Express in a gap of one hour) and July 12 (Venkatadri Express).

As usual, the gang tampered with the signalling system at the station outer to stop the train, but fled into the bushes after spotting the armed GRP personnel advancing towards them.

Deputy SP (GRP-Gooty) S. Madhu said steps would be initiated to issue shoot-at-sight orders, besides drafting more armed personnel, after discussion with the higher authorities.

The DSP said between 12.15 and 12.45 am (of Tuesday), the train stopped at the station outer. The engine crew suspected foul play and stopped the train several meters away from the outer point, forcing the robbers to come out of the bushes. Flashing the torches at the gang members, the GRP along with the RPF personnel advanced towards them.

The robbers ran into the bushes under the cover of darkness. The train resumed the journey after a delay of half an hour.

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