BHP derails runaway iron ore train

  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

The headline writer gets to write the headline they have been waiting all fortnight to write.

"Driver Error".

They then go on to spend the rest of the article describing how the safety systems on the train failed.

You just can't have "BHP systems failed" as your headline in the financial press now can you?

The whole idea of having failsafe systems is to overcome any human errors.  Humans can be replaced but failsafe systems that fail are a disaster.  BHP needs to rebuild their systems in a big hurry.

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  iknowstuff Station Staff

Was it ever going to be different, "thou shalt not find fault with the machine"  no matter how obvious. I felt for you Scully!!

Actually does any one know who has dibs on the in cab video of the whole thing, would be a great sequel  "Unstoppable II".
Denzal's at a loose end these days, sure a good deal could be worked out with Holiywood with BHP's clout.

Can't wait for the cartoons to come out in the papers, one has be BHP loco's and consist slowly  rolling down the track with a row of Train Controllers on each side with thin little sticks labelled ATP, ATMS, VIGILANCE, ECP  trying to poke them into the locomotives wheels!
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

I’d just like to quickly apologise for my post earlier as it seems to have upset some people a bit. I had no intention of making misleading contributions to a debate I am not qualified to engage in. I am not an expert and was merely summarising what I read in the article.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
ECP is to my mind a fairly recent technology, as in 10 years, in this country anyway, and this is just a missed detail. Engineering history is full of right place right time one in a million failures. This was just another. Any braking system that can release brakes uncommanded is begging for it.
The idea behind the reversion to pneumatic - with the overlay systems such as BHP & Rio Tinto use is to enable the use of the pneumatic mode without waiting for the batteries to run flat. Hence the 2 minute reversion with no BP pressure. 60 minutes is enough time to do what you need to do - but you need to know what you need to do, and that involves training and systems understanding, both things that are sadly lacking in in the Rail industry as compared to others. If BHP's procedures required the driver to dump the air before walking, it shows that someone there had an understanding of the ramifications of not doing so - but there was no redundancy in this. IMHO, not smart.

These air brakes are NOT Westinghouse. They only have a failsafe mechanism that will apply the brakes in an emergency. If the Brake Pipe hose has a sudden reduction in pressure, it dumps, and applies.
These air brakes are built for and ARE EP/ECP.

That is, they are a totally new type of air brake. Westinghouse brakes depend on reduction of air to apply brakes, where as these command via an electric/electronic system using air pressure
BHP and Rio Tinto utilize ECP overlay manifolds on their wagons - that is to say without trainline power and a HEU on the network commanding the ECP to cut-in, they run in standard pneumatic mode, responding to BP pressure changes. Incidentally, this is another failure mode of ECP. If an individual wagon loses comm, or is not detected on the network initially, it will run in pneumatic with the train in ECP. The small changes in BP pressure as ECP is applied can cause stuck brakes on that out-of-comm car.

Firstly, I refer back to my earlier post relating to Management of the incident by BHP. It's just beautiful!  Instead of handing the ATSB a pneumatic hose they handed them an Electrical cable. Here is the fault and we found it amongst all the wreckage, or was the disconnect near the end the train?
Your conspiracy theories are getting a bit old. The datalogger will record ECP faults, including the dreaded "multiple critical loss" alarm, trainline voltage and ECP comm state. One of the first things the driver would likely have reported (based on my experiences of ECP faults over 7 years driving with it) is that I've just had an