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BHP opens up about cause of the runaway train

BHP runaway train
"It’s either human error – the driver forgot the handbrake – or it’s a computer failing" an industry analyst has said.

This afternoon, BHP’s Edgar Basto (President of Iron Ore Assets) provided further detail on what CEO Andrew Mackenzie alluded to last week,  that the BHP runaway train resulted from “multiple system failures.”

The initial findings from BHPs own investigation of the runaway train event have shown that both the air brake and the electric braking system contributed to the incident.

Basto said the train initially stopped due to a disconnected cable controlling the braking system, but then started moving as the emergency brake was not engaged.

“At the same time, the braking system that halted the 268-wagon train “automatically released after one hour while the driver was still outside”

“The train began to move after the driver had disembarked to carry out an inspection, becoming what is termed a rollaway train,” he said.

“Our initial findings show that the emergency air brake for the entire train was not engaged as required by the relevant operating procedure.”

“In addition, the electric braking system that initially stopped the train, automatically released after an hour while the driver was still outside.”

“Due to integration failure of the back-up braking system, it was not able to deploy successfully.”

Basto added “Regulatory investigations are ongoing and we are working with regulators to learn from this incident. Our focus remains on the safety of our people and our operations.”

The ATSB are still yet to finalise their investigation into the incident. It is expected that this will take several months to complete based on the Yandi incident in 2015.

You can read the excerpt from the final ATSB Yandi 2015 Derailment Investigation report completed in October by following the link.

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AMSJ Nov 2021