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Author Topic: Train travels 57 miles without driver  (Read 1869 times)
patch38
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« on: November 05, 2018, 01:35:03 pm »

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/05/runaway-bhp-train-derailed-no-driver-port-hedland-western-australia

Wow. How on earth was that possible?  Shocked
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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 03:19:07 pm »

It could have coasted that far on a mainly downhill gradient if the driver had omitted to apply the brake before leaving the cab.
Alternatively it might have been under power. In the UK  such an accident would be prevented by the "dead mans handle" but perhaps this train was not so equipped.
Likewise in the UK, AWS would have stopped the train if it passed a signal at danger, including a signal put back to danger for the purpose of stopping the runaway. However the train might not have been fitted with AWS or equivalent, or there might have been no  signals at danger.
Even experienced railway staff can make mistakes, and are also often surprised by how readily a train can run away on a very slight gradient.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 06:47:22 pm »

Have you never seen Unstoppable?
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 05:09:16 am »

The press release from the Australian Transport Safety Board said:

Quote
"At approximately 0440 on 5 November 2018, the driver of a loaded ore train consisting of four locomotives and 268 wagons stopped at the 211 km point. The driver alighted from the locomotive to inspect an issue with a wagon.

While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train took off. With no one on board, the train travelled for 92 km until about 0505, when the train was deliberately derailed at a set of points operated by the control centre, about 119 km from Port Hedland."

92km in 25 minutes??? That's an average speed of 220 km/h. Or 137mph in old money. Really?

Four locomotives and 268 wagons loaded with iron ore. I don't think it's physically possible for such an unpowered mass to reach that velocity. I think someone's timings are way off.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 05:28:42 am »

92km in 25 minutes??? That's an average speed of 220 km/h. Or 137mph in old money. Really?

Four locomotives and 268 wagons loaded with iron ore. I don't think it's physically possible for such an unpowered mass to reach that velocity. I think someone's timings are way off.

The Guardian's report (original post) suggests 50 minutes not 25:

Quote
BHP has suspended all rail operations in Western Australia after a runaway train laden with iron ore travelled 92km with no one on board before it was deliberately derailed.

The driver of the 2km-long BHP-operated train stepped out of the locomotive early on Monday to inspect an issue with one of its 268 wagons and it took off without him.

It hurtled along the company’s Newman to Port Hedland line in the remote Pilbara region for about 50 minutes until it was deliberately derailed at a set of points near Turner, about 120km south of the port town.

The action was taken by a remote control centre more than 1,500km away in Perth.

I did wonder if the runaway was across two time zones ... but taking at a map, I doubt that.   Nearly 70 m.p.h. average still looks / feels unlikely fast, mind you.   Ah - never believe all you read!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 06:53:57 am »

The Guardian's story originally included that quote from the ATSB, which came across the wires from Reuters. I guess someone else also thought the maths were a bit iffy and went back to the ATSB for clarification. The original quote is slowly disappearing from t'web. Its no longer on the ATSB website either.

The new timings are better but, as you say, it's still hard to believe such an average speed being attained. Being average, the train would have to have attained a significantly higher top speed than 70mph. Four locos and 268 loaded wagons don't, from a standing start, go like the proverbial excrement off a manual hole creating implement. Even if the falling gradient was at the top end of what such trains can manage.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 08:02:51 am by bignosemac » Logged

TaplowGreen
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 07:21:12 am »

The Guardian's story originally included that quote from the ATSB, which came across the wires from Reuters. I guess someone else also thought the maths were a bit iffy and went back to the ATSB for clarification. The original quote is slowly disappearing from t'web. Its no longer on the ATSB website either.

The new timings are better but, as you say, it's still hard to believe such an average speed being attained. Being average, the train would have to have attained a significantly higher top speed than 70mph. Four locos and 268 loaded wagons don't accelerate that quickly. Even if the falling gradient was at the top end of what such trains can manage.

The Guardian? Getting something wrong? Surely not? Why oh why oh why etc etc etc.......😉
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bignosemac
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 07:57:10 am »

The Guardian? Getting something wrong? Surely not? Why oh why oh why etc etc etc.......😉

You've made a smelling pistake there. It's The Grauniad. Tongue

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 09:55:53 am »

The Guardian? Getting something wrong? Surely not? Why oh why oh why etc etc etc.......😉

Yawn.

The Guardian? Getting something wrong? Surely not? Why oh why oh why etc etc etc.......😉

You've made a smelling pistake there. It's The Grauniad. Tongue



So true. And have you seen the state of British Rail sandwiches? All curly at the edges, they are.

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stuving
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 10:31:24 am »

The Guardian's story originally included that quote from the ATSB, which came across the wires from Reuters. I guess someone else also thought the maths were a bit iffy and went back to the ATSB for clarification. The original quote is slowly disappearing from t'web. Its no longer on the ATSB website either.

The new timings are better but, as you say, it's still hard to believe such an average speed being attained. Being average, the train would have to have attained a significantly higher top speed than 70mph. Four locos and 268 loaded wagons don't, from a standing start, go like the proverbial excrement off a manual hole creating implement. Even if the falling gradient was at the top end of what such trains can manage.

The reports now agree on those figures, more or less. Of course that just means they all used the same source, not that they necessarily checked further. But this is a local report, from The West Australian:
Quote
BHP says it expects it will take a week to clear the track and resume rail operations at its Pilbara iron ore operations after a massive train derailment that has raised serious safety concerns.

The mining giant was forced to deliberately derail a fully-laden 2.6km-long iron ore train early on Monday morning after the driver alighted to inspect a carriage and the train carried on unattended.

The train — with four locomotives and 268 wagons — careered for 92km at average speeds of 110km/h before it was derailed near Turner, about 120km south of Port Hedland.

BHP said it derailed the train from its remote operations centre about 50 minutes later by switching a set of points on the track.

No-one was injured but the company this morning estimated that about 1.5km of track had been damaged in the incident.

“At this stage we anticipate the recovery process to take about one week,” a spokeswoman said.
...

Clearly it was going a lot faster than you'd like to see something that big do - and given that there's little gradient approaching Turner Siding it can't have been just gravity what done it. That report has a picture of the mangled train, which supports the description; I couldn't get it the video to download at all.

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 10:56:32 am »

Try the video here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-06/investigators-visit-runaway-bhp-iron-ore-train-derailment-site/10469802

Blimey, what a mess.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 11:11:20 am »

Somewhat off topic, but there's an interesting video about RTZ running a driverless train, halfway down that West Australian report.
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Day return to Infinity, please.
Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 11:23:47 am »

Just as well it wasn't 57 miles without a guard, otherwise the RMT would be calling the Brothers out.

yes yes I know it was an Australian freight train
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 11:31:19 am »

yes yes I know it was an Australian freight train

That wouldn't necessarily stop them! Solidarity, sibling!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 11:45:00 am »

Yes, solidarity Reg.

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