BHP has deliberately derailed a loaded iron ore train in Western Australia’s Pilbara region after it travelled 92 kilometres without a driver on Monday.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was in the process of collecting evidence about the runaway freight train, which was loaded with ore but had no passengers.
Registered as M02712, the BHP-operated freight train was on its way to Port Headland from its Newman mine in the early hours of Monday.
The train, which comprised four locomotives and 268 wagons, suffered “substantial” damage after the derailment.
BHP derails 268-car Pilbara iron ore train which travelled 92km without driverhttps://t.co/KqTAZlKF92
— Haplo (@HC_Haplo) November 5, 2018
The ATSB said the driver of the train stopped at the 211-kilometre point near Hester sidling) to inspect a wagon.
“While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to run away,” the ATSB said.
“With no one on board, the train travelled for 92 kilometres until about 0505, when the train was deliberately derailed at a set of points operated by the control centre, about 119 kilometres from Port Headland (near Turner siding).”
The West Australian quoted a BHP spokeswoman as saying that no one was injured and the Pilbara miner had suspended all train operations.
“We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation,” she said.
The ATSB conducts technical investigations on behalf of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.
A spokesman for the regulator said it had sent two investigators to the Pilbara to determine if there had been any breaches of the national rail safety laws.
BHP reportedly exported 69 million tonnes of iron ore from Port Hedland in the three months to September.