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Weipa mining train collision preliminary report released

Rio Tinto ore train collision

The ATSB has released an investigation report into a Rio Tinto mining train accident that occurred at Weipa on the 22 September 2019.

The ATSB says that an empty bauxite mining train was travelling the 19.5-km route between Lorim Point and Andoom, near Weipa, Queensland.

“At the 17.5 km mark, travelling at 64 km/h, the driver made a service brake application to slow the train for the 25-km/h turnout on the approach to Andoom, however, the brake application did not slow the train. In response, the driver released the brake, applied the dynamic brake on the locomotive, and again attempted to apply a service brake application”

“Recognising the train was not slowing enough for the turnout, the driver made an emergency brake application, which was not effective. At 59 km/h, the driver applied the locomotive independent brake as a means to slow the train. As the independent brake only applies on the locomotive, there was only a slight decrease in train speed.”

“The train passed through the turnout at 54 km/h. At the time, a rake of wagons was being loaded at the automated loading point at Andoom, 635 m from the turnout. The driver was aware that a train collision was imminent but was unable to prevent it.”

During this period, the driver contacted the control communication centre by radio and advised them of the circumstances.

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At 37 km/h, the Rio Tinto train collided with the partially loaded rake of wagons.

Train Collision at Weipa
Operators cab of Ore Train

The locomotive of the moving train, and four empty wagons at the rear of the partially loaded rake, derailed on impact. The collision resulted in the modular driver operating cab separating from the main structure of the locomotive, coming to rest on the ground.

The cab sustained substantial damage (see image).

The driver was initially trapped inside the cab but sustained only minor injuries.

The investigation is continuing.

Images Courtesy of ATSB

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