Runaway train reached speeds of 'up to 150km/h'

09 November, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Wagons and ore cover the track

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

Prices of iron ore futures in both China and in Singapore were lower on Wednesday.

Despite the closure of its rail network, BHP's iron ore mines remain open and operating.

"I don't think any disruption would matter as demand is now focused on low-grade iron ore", said an iron ore trader in the city-state of Singapore.

It had been travelling from Newman to Port Hedland when the driver got out at a siding to inspect an issue with an ore auto, before the train started moving again.

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

"A lot of people were expecting some kind of rally in the fourth quarter, but this is getting increasingly unlikely", Leszczynski said.

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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.

The incident resulted in a mangled wreck among piles of iron ore spanning more than 1.5 kilometres.

BHP's rail operations in Western Australia have now been suspended.

Footage aired by a local television station showed a wrecked locomotive beside a chain of upturned wagons in the country's Outback bushland.

However, the company now says it expects the reserves will not be sufficient to cover the period of disruption until partial rail operations can resume in "about one week".

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

Around 1.5km of track was damaged, with work to start on repairs once the wreckage is cleared.

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