BHP derails runaway iron ore train

 
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I guess when the ATSB report and Rail regulator investigation is complete, we may get to see stunning evidence.

One thing I need to confirm is the State Regulator (Rail) is doing a separate investigation?
F4PhantomRAAF
The NRSR is the safety regulator for rail in WA.

An equivalent arrangement exists with regards to the ATSB, the WA government contributes towards the funding of the ATSB rather than running their own investigation office. NSW and Victoria are the last states to maintain separate investigation offices rather than funding the ATSB - and even these offices now have collaboration agreements with the ATSB.

It is my suggestion that the cab doors have a receptacle for the reverser which unlocks them, then a key is released which must be taken so the door can be opened and the door can be locked on the outside with this. If not, a breach alarm would sound at train control.
F4PhantomRAAF
Removing the reverser from the loco is a protocol which exists for the purpose of preventing unauthorised driving of a loco, not for runaway protection. Requiring it to be left in the loco would make it available in the event of a break-in.

Further to that, any protocol which leaves the driver locked in the cab and unable to escape in an emergency would be strongly resisted by the drivers' unions.

We will see what the investigations determine happened with respect to how the train got moving and why it wasn't stopped. My guess is that improvements to the vigilance control system would achieve the aims you desire more effectively than locking drivers into their cabs.

I have a feeling that in the past 5 years BHP has been taking non-experienced locomotive drivers (for political correctness) and this may be the result. I highly doubt an experienced driver has done this. There is a possibility, but I doubt it.
F4PhantomRAAF
It will be interesting to see what the investigations turn up on this front.

Rail historically has a record of doing a very good job of training new drivers but performing weakly when it comes to maintaining and upgrading competency, leading to a high proportion of incidents in Australia being caused by complacency. I feel that this is primarily an issue of culture within the industry, and that there will be little impetus towards changing it until there is a major incident where numerous lives are lost.

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
is the plan to reopen the line within the week achievable?
  M636C Minister for Railways

is the plan to reopen the line within the week achievable?
x31
Once they get the damaged ore cars and the couple of thousand tonnes of ore out of the way, they should be able to do it in a couple of days. Only 1.5km of track is said to be damaged. The train appears to have been on the East line. The West line might be opened first, since there will be less damage on that side. A week seems reasonable. They would have rail and replacement sleepers available for that much track replacement.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
' I have a feeling that in the past 5 years BHP has been taking non-experienced locomotive drivers (for political correctness) and this may be the result. I highly doubt an experienced driver has done this. There is a possibility, but I doubt it.

'An interesting coincidence. I asked the following question in the Indonesian plane crash thread in relation to crew training the same day.'

Is there a somewhat similar situation with training in some areas of the rail industry here in Australia?'
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Videos seen show many many ore cars damaged probably at least 50.
  Marbelup Station Master

Location: Perth, Western Australia
It would be interesting to know what the simulations predict had the train not been derailed. Would it have stopped before reaching Port Hedland due to flatter grades or still be travelling at high speed?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
It would be interesting to know what the simulations predict had the train not been derailed. Would it have stopped before reaching Port Hedland due to flatter grades or still be travelling at high speed?
Marbelup
I think they derailed because they knew they could at that location, rather than a maybe.

I suppose the problem was that unless they knew for certain it would 100% stop on its before Port Headland or risking a major collision, then it had to be sent off the rails. Perhaps there was a train coming the other way and while the driver could be warned to stop and run away, his train would likely suffer as much damage as the derailed train and hence two train racks and locos lost.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Today Channel 9 has confirmed BHP's systems were saying the train was doing 150kph.

Currently I cannot find the story on their facebook page but it was in their 6pm bulletin.
[EDIT] Runaway train reached speeds of 'up to 150km/h' [EDIT]

Also they said video of the train moving at speed (so fast it was a dust cloud) has emerged and may be BHP equipment.

I guess when the ATSB report and Rail regulator investigation is complete, we may get to see stunning evidence.

One thing I need to confirm is the State Regulator (Rail) is doing a separate investigation?

Daniel
F4PhantomRAAF
A loaded +2km long iron ore freight train doing 150km/h, wow!
  lkernan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
It seems appropriate that locomotive 4472 was travelling at 150kph.
After all, that's what Flying Scotsman was known for!

Seems to say a bit about BHP's infrastructure that such a heavy train could travel that far at that speed and only stop when they deliberately derail it.
  ShaneB Locomotive Fireman

Update: The following is inaccurate and updated over the next few posts

Does anyone know where this event occurred? Was it at POSCO Loop which is the last location apart from refuge 2 before the bridges? The field hut and sizable road on the east side appears to match this location although it looks a little greener from the initial helicopter shots.


Coords - -22.11464, 119.25683
Map of area: POSCO Loop
  M636C Minister for Railways

Does anyone know where this event occurred? Was it at POSCO Loop which is the last location apart from refuge 2 before the bridges? The field hut and sizable road on the east side appears to match this location although it looks a little greener from the initial helicopter shots.


Coords - -22.11464, 119.25683
Map of area: POSCO Loop
ShaneB

The derailment occured at the location called "Turner" at 120km, give or take a little.
This was a 2km long passing siding in 1976, but is now just a location on double track.
Some former sidings have small loops for track machines and damaged wagons and I assume it was one of these that was used to derail the train.


The runaway occurred at 211km on a 1 in 66 falling gradinent, about one km south of the former Garden passing siding which is again now double track.

The train was on the East track, so was running in the opposite direction to normal double track running.
BHP no longer use signals in the area of the derailment, the former posts being used as location markers.
Generally trains can run in either direction on either track.

I have never heard of a location called "Posco Loop". It doesn't appear on my 1976 track diagram.

Google Maps list the siding (incorrectly) as "Turners" loop at a location 21.291, 118.847

Could the loop you found be on the FMG or Roy Hill lines?





Peter
  ShaneB Locomotive Fireman

Thanks Peter and apologies,
  You are correct that the previous image was from the Roy Hill line and was my mistake as I think a media report stated Roy Hill in the early days.

I believe the coords are now -21.28926, 118.85494 and images are as follows and the solar panels and shed now match up.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1s5FzkMODp9VFZdpE11Z9NcRoxwoWm9lV/view?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R4vhj8QjClsihc3OZn5o_LdLaE4Z1yk1/view?usp=sharing
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
This footage is phenomenal.  I am guessing that no-one was near it when it was derailed but if there was footage of that, it would be infinitely more spectacular, and a great educational video to show the world what could go wrong....

Also, kind of helpful that it was loaded, all the iron ore thrown about would have helped put out any fire that started.
  NSWRcars Chief Train Controller


The train was on the East track, so was running in the opposite direction to normal double track running.
BHP no longer use signals in the area of the derailment, the former posts being used as location markers.
Generally trains can run in either direction on either track.
M636C
The aerial footage clearly showed the intact few wagons at the rear of the train on the West track, the front of the train was over the East track, and the debris pile straddled a facing crossover at Turner (visible on Google Earth). I suggest the crossover was reversed, and that’s where the derailment took place.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Why are signals no longer used by BHP on that route?
  M636C Minister for Railways

Why are signals no longer used by BHP on that route?
x31
Because they have an In Cab Signalling System just like that on Rio Tinto.

The locomotive itself knows where it is and whether it can enter the next section.
The Rio system (ten years ago when I last saw it working) also recommended a speed for the next section of track.
If the section was blocked, it recommended 0km/h.

This is seen on BHP as a step towards driverless trains, as  it was on Rio Tinto.

Peter
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Why are signals no longer used by BHP on that route?
Because they have an In Cab Signalling System just like that on Rio Tinto.

The locomotive itself knows where it is and whether it can enter the next section.
The Rio system (ten years ago when I last saw it working) also recommended a speed for the next section of track.
If the section was blocked, it recommended 0km/h.

This is seen on BHP as a step towards driverless trains, as  it was on Rio Tinto.

Peter
M636C
Sounds somewhat like the ATMS system no?
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Sounds somewhat like the ATMS system no?
james.au
BHP's lines use a Positive Train Control system provided by GE.

It's very unlike ATMS in one major aspect - it actually works. ARTC should have given up on that years ago and bought off the shelf.
  M636C Minister for Railways


The train was on the East track, so was running in the opposite direction to normal double track running.
BHP no longer use signals in the area of the derailment, the former posts being used as location markers.
Generally trains can run in either direction on either track.The aerial footage clearly showed the intact few wagons at the rear of the train on the West track, the front of the train was over the East track, and the debris pile straddled a facing crossover at Turner (visible on Google Earth). I suggest the crossover was reversed, and that’s where the derailment took place.
NSWRcars
My apologies, it was indeed on the West track.
I was misled by the shadows in the view from the East which made it appear to me that the train was on the East track.

Trains can run in either direction on either track but conventional running is more common.

Peter
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Sounds somewhat like the ATMS system no?
BHP's lines use a Positive Train Control system provided by GE.

It's very unlike ATMS in one major aspect - it actually works. ARTC should have given up on that years ago and bought off the shelf.
justapassenger
Is the BHP system a movable block?
  bramt Deputy Commissioner

Why are signals no longer used by BHP on that route?
Because they have an In Cab Signalling System just like that on Rio Tinto.

The locomotive itself knows where it is and whether it can enter the next section.
The Rio system (ten years ago when I last saw it working) also recommended a speed for the next section of track.
If the section was blocked, it recommended 0km/h.

This is seen on BHP as a step towards driverless trains, as  it was on Rio Tinto.

Peter
M636C
This of course begs the question: if they have in-cab signalling, why can't they stop the train by giving it a red signal?
If the vigilance is isolated when the locomotive is parked, is the in cab signalling also isolated?
Plus of course, if the issue is with the braking system, nothing from the locomotive is going to stop it.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Why are signals no longer used by BHP on that route?
Because they have an In Cab Signalling System just like that on Rio Tinto.

The locomotive itself knows where it is and whether it can enter the next section.
The Rio system (ten years ago when I last saw it working) also recommended a speed for the next section of track.
If the section was blocked, it recommended 0km/h.

This is seen on BHP as a step towards driverless trains, as  it was on Rio Tinto.

Peter
This of course begs the question: if they have in-cab signalling, why can't they stop the train by giving it a red signal?
If the vigilance is isolated when the locomotive is parked, is the in cab signalling also isolated?
Plus of course, if the issue is with the braking system, nothing from the locomotive is going to stop it.
bramt
No, ICSS is not isolated or suppressed when stopped, neither is ATP (or else the system would not know when the road cleared).

ATP is supposed to enforce Rollaway, Overspeed and LOA/Signal-at-stop protections. As to why it didn't, well, if the brakes are inoperative, or partly so, then no amount of brake command from the ATP is going to help.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Is the BHP system a movable block?
The Rio Tinto system definitely was not a moving block, at least not when I last saw it working.
I assume the BHP system is basically the same as the Rio Tinto system, since it has been working well for well over ten years.
Hamersley Iron were working towards the ICSS more than 40 years ago.
C636R 3006 had (B+W) CRT cab displays in 1984 which showed consist and track details.

Peter
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Is the BHP system a movable block?
The Rio Tinto system definitely was not a moving block, at least not when I last saw it working.
I assume the BHP system is basically the same as the Rio Tinto system, since it has been working well for well over ten years.
Hamersley Iron were working towards the ICSS more than 40 years ago.
C636R 3006 had (B+W) CRT cab displays in 1984 which showed consist and track details.

Peter
M636C
So, markedly different to ATMS.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

From basic knowledge of US manufactured diesel locos, they have the following intervention possibilties

Loco vigilance/alerter. Not working if loco not being driven
Loco speed governor. Protects loco from exceeding a set maximum speed
Automatic Train Protection.  To prevent rollaway, overspeed or movement authority contravention.

On these gradients, any of the above interventions need to have control over the train brakes (not just loco independent which would have been on anyway )

So we can determine that either none of these systems intervened, they did not have control over the train brake or the brakes themselves were not working.

Hope this clears up a lot of the questions.

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