Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Runaway Train Blazes Through Western Australia For More Than 50 Miles

Runaway Train Blazes Through Western Australia For More Than 50 Miles

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.

Freight rates for shipping iron ore from Australia to China have dropped by more than 10% since Monday as the derailment of one of BHP's trains is disrupting shipments from Port Hedland. "We've got no reason why we have to change the contracts and agreements we have with existing customers", he said, following the company' annual general meeting in Adelaide.

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

Mining giant BHP, which owns the four-locomotive train, chose to derail before it reached the town of Port Hedland near its Western Australia Pilbara site, and flicked the points.

No one was injured in the incident.

BHP has not reported the matter to the Australian stock exchange as it is not expected to have a material impact on finances.

The miner said its normal train operations remain suspended, estimating that around 1.5 km of train track were damaged.


There was no indication of what had caused the train to move without its driver.

'With no one on board, the train travelled for 92 km before being deliberately derailed at a set of points operated by the control centre, about 119 km from Port Headland (near Turner siding)'.

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

The mine sites were still running and reserves would be used to maintain port operations, "however they are not expected to cover the entire period of interruption", a BHP spokeswoman said in a statement.

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

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and BHP are investigating.

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