Runaway mining train in Australia travels 90km without driver

09 November, 2018, 04:36 | Author: Brooke Harris
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The train, comprising 268 wagons stretching nearly two miles in length, was carrying up to 35,000 tonnes of iron ore worth about $2 million when the driver alighted to inspect an issue with a wagon and the train moved off without him.

The train, comprising four locomotives and 268 wagons, travelled 92km before being deliberately derailed at a set of points operated by BHP's Integrated Remote Operations Centre, around 119km from Port Hedland.

The train was travelling at an average speed of 110 kilometres per hour before the derailment at Turner, 120 kilometres south of Port Headland.

"We have a long-term contract with BHP and we haven't received a notification so far", said an official at the mill in southern China who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to media.

"Had it been closer to a built up area another train coming from another area, so many possibilities that are dangers and hazard I'm just glad it happened where it did", the CFMEU's Greg Busson said.

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

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BHP's shares closed 0.48 percent lower to Aus$33.39 (US$24.18) in Sydney Wednesday as reports in Britain said the Anglo-Australian firm was facing a £5 billion (US$6.5 billion) lawsuit over the deadly Samarco dam failure in Brazil in 2015.

BHP has told Bloomberg that it "estimated that about 1.5 kilometers of track has been damaged and anticipates the recovery process to take about one week". While rail operations are suspended, mining operations continue, it said.

BHP is planning to draw from its stockpiles at Port Hedland as it repairs its rail service, The West Australian reported.

On Wednesday, the company also said in a statement it can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation.

"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation".

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