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Australian workers put brakes on wrong train in BHP iron ore train derailment - Report

Mining News - Published on Thu, 14 Mar 2019

Image Source: ABC
Reported that an emergency crew called out to manually apply handbrakes to a 268-car iron ore train in the Australian outback mistakenly put the brakes on the wrong train, according to a preliminary report into a runaway train derailment. In the incident last November, the BHP Group ore train had to be deliberately derailed after it reached speeds of 162 km/hour (101 mph), destroying two locomotives, 245 ore cars and 2 km (1.2 miles) of track. No-one was hurt. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the train, carrying iron ore to Port Hedland in Australia’s remote northeast, came to a halt after it lost communication between the front locomotive and a monitor at the train’s rear. The driver “applied the independent brake” and exited the cab to manually apply handbrakes to the train’s 268 ore cars, while awaiting assistance from an emergency ground crew.

Another empty train came to a stop on an adjacent track, and 30 minutes later the ground crew arrived and were asked by train control to start applying brakes from the rear of the train and work towards the driver.

An hour after stopping, the driver noticed air venting from the brakes and saw the train move forward, then start to roll away. A number of penalty brake applications were triggered but were ineffective.

The report said that “Four minutes later, the driver of the empty ore train advised train control the ground crew had mistakenly applied handbrakes to his train.”

The ATSB said that the fully laden ore train was traveling at 144 km/hour (89 mph) an hour when it was derailed and the lead locomotives ran on for a further 1.6 km (1 mile) before coming to a stop.

It said that “The investigation is continuing and will look at a number of factors including the design of train braking systems used by the operator and procedures in the operator’s safety management system.”

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Thu, 14 Mar 2019
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