Runaway train hurtles across 57 miles

Runaway train hurtles across 57 miles
A BHPIO iron ore train arriving at Port Hedland, Western Australia.

A runaway train took off without its driver then rattled over 57 miles at speeds of over 62 miles per hour before being deliberately derailed, Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said Monday.

The vehicle, which had no one on board but was laden with iron ore, consisted of four locomotives and 268 wagons, according to the ATSB’s statement.

It was operated by mining company BHP Billiton and traveling across Western Australia from the remote mining town of Newman to Port Hedland on Monday.

‘While the driver was outside … the train commenced to runaway’

The train began its getaway when the driver stepped off to inspect a wagon at around 4:40 a.m. It was eventually forcibly derailed just under an hour later at 5:30 a.m.

“While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to runaway,” the ATSB statement said.

“With no one on board, the train traveled for 92 km before being deliberately derailed at a set of points operated by the control center, about 119 km from Port Headland.”

An investigation into the incident is being carried out, ATSB said, and that damage to the train was “substantial.”

BHP Billiton confirmed that it had suspended all of its iron ore rail operations and that no one was injured during the incident.