Runaway BHP Train Under Investigation in Australia

09 November, 2018, 04:34 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Mangled wreckage of BHP runaway train revealed in video footage

It was deliberately derailed at a set of points, operated by a control centre, about 119km from Port Hedland.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating a November 5 incident in Western Australia where a BHP train loaded with iron ore traveled about 55 miles with no personnel on board.

The 268-wagon train started on its solo journey when the driver got down from his cab to carry out an inspection, and was soon hurtling along at up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour.

Former train workers told 9NEWS if the driver left the train idling with the brake on, it's likely gravity caused the train to move, particularly because the tracks are on steep terrain.

Australia's Transport Safety Bureau said on Monday that a probe into the derailment was underway.

The ATSB, which is also investigating the incident, said the damage to the train was substantial. Nobody was injured in the incident that happened in a remote area around 120 km south of the world's largest iron ore loading terminal in the country's northwest.

The interruption to the train line could be particularly costly for the mining company - given that it's the main way to deliver ore from its Pilbara mines to Port Hedland.


Industry specialists were confused about why the train would have run away down the tracks.

"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation", a BHP spokeswoman said in a statement.

The derailment came after the train ran away at high speed for almost 100 kilometres (62 miles).

The Guardian reported that BHP has suspended rail operations in Western Australia but expects to resume them in about a week.

The MySteel 62% Australian fines iron ore price has been stronger-than-expected in recent weeks at above US$70 per tonne, rising above $77/t late last month.

The Rio Tinto company says it completed its first delivery of iron ore using an autonomous train in July.

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