BHP finds brake failure as cause of train derailment

Image: BHP.

BHP’s preliminary internal investigation has found that the derailment of its iron ore freight train in the Pilbara earlier this month was caused by a brake failure, said BHP Western Australian Iron Ore asset president Edgar Basto.

“The train came to a stop after a braking system control cable became disconnected. [It] was then derailed intentionally because it could not be brought to a stop with the braking system,” Basto said.

BHP, on November 5, deliberately derailed its train near Turner on route to deliver an iron ore shipment to Port Hedland.

According to Basto, the train began to move after the driver had got off the train to carry out an inspection.

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

“In addition, the electric braking system that initially stopped the train automatically released after one hour while the driver was still outside. Due to integration failure of the backup braking system, it was not able to deploy successfully.”

Nobody was injured because of the incident.

The miner has also put in place a range of safety controls and restarted its rail operations.

It was the first of two train derailments in the Western Australian iron ore industry in a week.