Runaway train travels for 57 miles before being intentionally derailed

Runaway Mining Train Travels 90 Kilometers Without Driver In Australia

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said damage to the train was substantial and it is estimated about 1.5km of track was damaged.

The driver had stopped at Hesta Siding to check a wagon, but the train - en route from Newman to Port Hedland - took off without him and careered 92 kilometres down the track before being derailed at Turner Siding.

The 268-wagon train began its solo journey when the driver got down to carry out inspection, and was soon moving at up to 110 km per hour.

A runaway BHP train filled with iron ore made headlines on Monday morning, when it derailed about 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland in WA.

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.

The ATSB said it expected to finish its investigation by the second quarter of 2019.

"Had it been closer to a built up area another train coming from another area, so many possibilities that are dangers and hazard I'm just glad it happened where it did", the CFMEU's Greg Busson said.

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"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation", a BHP spokeswoman said in a statement.

Western Australia's premier, Mark McGowan, told ABC that it was clear "extraordinary measures" had been necessary.

The derailment came after the train ran away at high speed for almost 100 kilometres (62 miles).

The interruption to the train line could be particularly costly for the mining company - given that it's the main way to deliver ore from its Pilbara mines to Port Hedland. While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to run away.

And as the company grapples with how, exactly, one of its trains came to be traveling driverless, it's worth noting that another iron ore company has been working to develop (purposely) driverless trains in Australia.

The Guardian reported that BHP has suspended rail operations in Western Australia but expects to resume them in about a week.

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