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Train in Australia travels for 92 kilometres with no driver before being derailed

The train’s driver momentarily stepped off the locomotive to inspect an issue with one of the train’s wagons.

File Photo.
File Photo.
Image: DPA/PA Images

A TRAIN IN a remote part of Western Australia has been forcibly derailed after it travelled for 92 kilometres with no one aboard. 

Carrying iron ore on BHP Biliton’s Mount Newman line yesterday, the train stopped at the line’s 211 kilometre point at 4am. 

The driver – the only person aboard the train – momentarily stepped off the locomotive to inspect an issue with one of the train’s wagons, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). 

“While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to runaway.”

The train, consisting of four locomotives and 268 wagons, continued travelling for 92 kilometres for 50 minutes before being deliberately derailed by BHP’s control centre.

A spokesperson for the mining company, quoted by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has said that the recovery process will take around one week.  

“We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation,” the company said.

No one was injured. Train operations across BHP’s network have been suspended and the ATSB has said that it is investigating the runaway train, which came off the tracks 120 kilometres from Port Hedland. 

This is not the first BHP train derailment. 

In February, 40 iron ore cars derailed 130km south of Port Hedland. In December 2015, 25 BHP train cars derailed on the Newman to Port Hedland line.

BHP’s Pilbara regional operations produce up to 155 million tonnes of iron ore per year, according to Mining Technology, with the company operating more than 1,000km of rail infrastructure in the region.

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