News, Rio Tinto

Driverless train derailment investigation continues

A driverless train operated by Rio Tinto derailed in the Pilbara over the weekend.

The train was heading to the Port of Dampier from a Rio site when approximately 30 of its wagons derailed at around 6.30pm on June 17.

“The safety and wellbeing of our people and communities is our top priority,” a Rio Tinto spokesperson told the ABC.

“The train was in autonomous mode and no one was injured in the incident.”

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is currently investigating the incident, with initial findings suggesting that the automated train safety functions were operating as needed.

Rio Tinto operates over 200 trains across the Pilbara, and the line that the driverless train derailed on its used solely by the major miner.

The company is continuing to invest in the iron ore trains, most recently partnering with Gemco Rail to bring local iron ore rail car manufacturing and bearing maintenance to the Pilbara.

Rio is expected to invest approximately $150 million to purchase 100 locally built ore rail cars over a six year period, as well as continue investing in bearing refurbishment over a ten year period.

The first 40 ore cars will be built at Gemco Rail’s existing facility in Forrestfield, while it establishes an additional facility in Karratha. Once the Karratha facility is operational, Gemco Rail is expected to build an average of ten ore cars per annum.

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