Mining giant’s train runs 90 kilometers without driver

Daniel Fowler
November 9, 2018

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.

Global miner BHP Billiton BHP.AX BLT.L expects its operations in western Australia to take around a week to recover after a almost 3-km long train loaded with iron ore enroute to the coast for export was forcibly derailed on Monday.

The train travelled 92km in 50 minutes before being derailed at Turner's Siding, 120km south of its destination.

"We have a long-term contract with BHP and we haven't received a notification so far", said an official at the mill in southern China who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to media.

A runaway train with no one inside which hurtled through the Western Australia Pilbara region reached speeds of more than 150km/h before it was deliberately derailed.

But it took off without him, and a team of remote train operators in BHP's control room were forced to carry out an intentional derailment.

"No one has been injured".

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The train, operated by Melbourne-based minerals, oil and gas company BHP, had made a stop on its way to northwest Australia's Port Hedland.

Industry specialists were confused about why the train would have run away down the tracks.

Despite that, BHP have said there is enough iron ore stockpiles Port Hedland for their operations to continue around Western Australia.

The company did not reported the matter to the Australian stock exchange as it is not expected to have a material impact on finances. BHP expects the recovery to take about a week. "We can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation", BHP said.

'We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation, ' a BHP spokesperson said.

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

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