BHP suspends rail operations following runaway train incident in Western Australia

November 6, 2018

A train carrying iron ore on BHP’s private Mount Newman railway line in Western Australia was forcibly derailed after it ran away at high speed for nearly 100 km (62 miles). There were no injuries reported, however, BHP suspended all of its iron ore rail operations following the incident.

The accident is likely to raise safety concerns about miners' plans to bring driverless trains to Australia's iron ore heartland, Reuters reported.

The train, which was running on BHP's private Mount Newman railway line, took off while the driver, the only person on the train, had temporarily stepped off the locomotive to an inspect an issue with a wagon.

The train ran for 92 km (57 miles) at around 100 km/h (62 mph), Reuters calculations show.

The accident is likely to raise safety concerns about miners' plans to bring driverless trains to Australia's iron ore heartland.

Rio Tinto made its first iron ore delivery by autonomous train in July.

The Mount Newman railway line carries ore from Newman in Australia's iron ore-rich Pilbara to Port Hedland across a remote 426 km (267 miles) and is one of Australia’s longest private railways.

Australia's transport authority said it was investigating the incident.

The damage to the train was “substantial,” The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a report.

BHP said that the train began to move at 4:40 am while the driver was out conducting an inspection, before the train was intentionally derailed after about 90 km (56 miles) at about 5:30 am.
 

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