Runaway train hits 110kmh before being derailed

SYDNEY • A huge runaway train laden with iron ore had to be derailed remotely after speeding through the Australian outback for almost an hour.

The 268-wagon train started on its solo journey when the driver got down from his cab to carry out an inspection - and was soon hurtling along at up to 110kmh.

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

The train crashed off the rails, damaging around 1,500m of tracks. No one was injured.

Aerial images published by The West Australian showed a trail of twisted wreckage after the incident on Monday.

BHP said yesterday that more than 130 people were working to recover the train and fix the tracks - a key access route for the enormous mining facility - with partial rail operations expected to restart in about a week.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was investigating the incident. There was no indication of what had caused the train to move without its driver.

"We cannot speculate on the outcome of the investigation ... we are working with the appropriate authorities and our focus remains on the safe recovery of our operations," the BHP spokesman said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'Runaway train hits 110kmh before being derailed'. Print Edition | Subscribe