Perth train passengers most satisfied rail commuters in Australia: survey
Rail sounds spectator safety alert
Hunter workers in running to build new train fleet
Rail access deal on arbitration track
Manage grain on rail issue: WAFarmers
Growers fear January rail access issues
West Australian rail network operator says state government investment needed to reopen Tier 3 rail freight lines
FMG mulls railway expansion
Western Australia needs a state-wide infrastructure plan to support mining and resources growth, says peak industry body
Historic Golden Mile Loopline Railway from Kalgoorlie to Boulder in WA Goldfields set to live again
Rail safety investigators have arrived at the site of a deliberate train derailment in Western Australia's Pilbara region, a day after a runaway train brought iron ore miner BHP's rail network to a halt.
The fully-laden train, pulling 268 wagons of iron ore, was travelling from Newman to Port Hedland when the driver got out to inspect a wagon near Hester siding at 4:40am on Monday.
While the driver was out of the cabin, the train took off, travelling more than 90 kilometres in 50 minutes.
The train, made up of four locomotives, was eventually derailed at a set of points at Turner's Siding, about 120km south of Port Hedland.
Mobile phone footage obtained by the ABC shows the twisted and mangled wreckage of the train lying strewn alongside the track.
The derailment was orchestrated from BHP's Integrated Remote Operations Centre in Perth, about 1,500km away.
Two rail safety officers from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator have arrived at the site of the derailment to begin an investigation.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is separately investigating the derailment.
A spokesperson for the ATSB said the investigation was likely to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.
Out-of-control train 'very concerning': PremierWA Premier Mark McGowan said while he had not been briefed on the incident, it was clear "extraordinary measures" had been required.
"Obviously it would have been very concerning for everyone involved — BHP and the workforce, and the people of Port Hedland — that a train was travelling down the track without a driver and obviously out of control," Mr McGowan said.
"I'm sure that there'll be a full review undertaken by BHP, and I'll consult about what role the state might have in that."
In a statement, BHP said about 1.5 kilometres of track was damaged, and the recovery process would take about one week.
"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation," the company said.
In the meantime, train operations across BHP's network have been suspended.
Data recorder may hold answersBased on the distance travelled, the runaway train reached an average speed of about 110 kilometres per hour.
Rail Safety Consulting Australia owner Phillip Barker said it was unclear what had happened to make the train take off, but suggested it may have involved the configuration or isolation of the brake system.
"Usually, once the driver leaves the train, the brakes are on, there's procedures for that," Mr Barker said.
"They would have got permission to get off the locomotive and go and look at this wagon.
"There would have been a procedure in place to make sure the train didn't move off."
Mr Barker said rail safety officers would begin by asking the driver and rail controllers what happened.
"They'll put a notice on [BHP] to isolate the data recorder … to see what the parameters were, what was happening, especially with the brakes," he said.
"Any traction power that may have been applied, what the brake pressures along the train — on the front and the back — may have been.
"It's an iterative approach and they'll start working from the bottom, at the accident [site], right up to the top.
"They'll be looking also at the safety systems .… to see if they're in place, if they're adequate and if they were followed."
Don't jump to conclusions: unionThe union representing mining workers said it was important to wait until investigations were completed before blaming anyone over the incident.
CFMEU WA secretary Greg Busson said they would await the findings of the inquiry.
"Everyone should just let the investigation take its course and not jump to conclusions, poking blame here or there," he said.
"I think if the investigation's done properly, that'll find the true blames, and as long as we use the outcomes of it to make the industry safer then all the better."
The union said it was lucky there were no other trains in the area and that the incident did not occur closer to Port Hedland, where there could have been tragic consequences.
BHP will use its stockpile reserves to maintain supply at its port operations in Port Hedland while rail operations are suspended.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2019 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.