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Runaway Australian iron ore train deliberately derailed


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I suspect the driver may have some questions to answer about what isolation procedures he followed before stepping off the loco. Clearly something failed, and didn't fail safe.

 

Not a good time of the year to be suspending rail operations either, as if there is a good time, as they will no doubt be chasing their annual tonnage quotas that were made at the beginning of the calendar year.

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What is the gradient profile? Quite a sustained downhill to average almost 70mph over 90km.

 Doesn't need much. Even with plain bearings you are looking at about 1 in 300 (0.33%) for a balancing speed of 70mph if the brakes are fully off. And that length of run is plenty for the balancing speed to be achieved. Bonuses, schmonuses: as above, no one injured - or worse. That's the real bonus.

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1/ I think this thread should  be merged with 'Those that fear coming to Australia'

 

2/ ...and 268 wagons! If you were modelling in Australia, that would be horribly expensive to buy and weather all those wagons!

Maybe you could get a model railway manufacturer to do a limited edition run, just for you? :yes:

(Some LEs are only 250)

 

Keith

Edited by melmerby
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Doesn't need much. Even with plain bearings you are looking at about 1 in 300 (0.33%) for a balancing speed of 70mph if the brakes are fully off. And that length of run is plenty for the balancing speed to be achieved. Bonuses, schmonuses: as above, no one injured - or worse. That's the real bonus.

So that would mean the train started off at an elevation at least 300m higher from where it crashed.

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So that would mean the train started off at an elevation at least 300m higher from where it crashed.

 

So that would mean the train started off at an elevation at least 300m higher from where it crashed.

Newman, where the train started, is shown as being at 544 metres above sea level. The speed, from the time and distance given, is 74 kph, not mph; fast enough if you're standing trackside and watching it disappear.

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I wonder if they will do anything to clear the mess up once they have a railway working again. Its a horrible mess, but presumably a long way from anywhere.

 

Paul

I found 'Turner's Siding' on Google Maps; it really is in the middle of nowhere. There is a road, but it's right next to the railway, and presumably blocked as well. There's an air service from Perth, I believe; Lynne's cousin used to do a lot of painting and decorating for the mining company, so used to go up there frequently.

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I wonder if they will do anything to clear the mess up once they have a railway working again. Its a horrible mess, but presumably a long way from anywhere.

 

Paul

 

They'll build a (temporary) deviation around the site to get the rail up and running again.

 

Then they'll start clearing up (at least some of) the mess.

 

It has been a while since there was a derailment of that scale in this part of the world. Often when a few wagons come off they are bulldozed out of the way and left - clearing (rebuilding) the line is priority #1 to get the trains moving again. There are a few discarded ore cars around the Pilbara at sites of old derailments. Sometimes they have to be cleaned up as part of future expansion works if they are sitting on the route of a new railbed.

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I found 'Turner's Siding' on Google Maps; it really is in the middle of nowhere. There is a road, but it's right next to the railway, and presumably blocked as well. There's an air service from Perth, I believe; Lynne's cousin used to do a lot of painting and decorating for the mining company, so used to go up there frequently.

If you look at the link I posted they actually drive alongside the derailed train.

Some wreckage both sides of where they are driving. I assume it's been bulldozed clear.

The one loco visible looks pretty well totalled. and the wagons are bent out of any shape recognisable as a railway vehicle.

The rear of the train is still upright.

 

Keith

Edited by melmerby
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Newman, where the train started, is shown as being at 544 metres above sea level. The speed, from the time and distance given, is 74 kph, not mph; fast enough if you're standing trackside and watching it disappear.

 

The speed and time given was 90km in 50mins, which equals an average speed of 108 km/h or 68 mph. Bearing in mind that is an average speed, and that the train started from a standstill and would have taken some distance to even get up to the average speed, it's maximum speed must have been over 80mph in order to get an average of nearly 70mph.

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What is the gradient profile? Quite a sustained downhill to average almost 70mph over 90km.

 

It is (generally) downhill most of the way from mine to port - but luckily, this runaway started at Walla, after the long steep downhill stretch at Redmont, so didn't get the serious momentum boost that would have resulted.

 

 

 

1/ I think this thread should  be merged with 'Those that fear coming to Australia'

 

2/ ...and 268 wagons! If you were modelling in Australia, that would be horribly expensive to buy and weather all those wagons!

 

Arid Australia was an exhibition layout here in WA that did just that: "Arid Australia Is currently in storage. It comes out of hibernation every now and then for special events, but nothing regular. Yes it is the layout that ran the world record, 4 locomotives and 650 wagons"

 

 

I wonder if they will do anything to clear the mess up once they have a railway working again. Its a horrible mess, but presumably a long way from anywhere.

 

Paul

 

 

 

I found 'Turner's Siding' on Google Maps; it really is in the middle of nowhere. There is a road, but it's right next to the railway, and presumably blocked as well. There's an air service from Perth, I believe; Lynne's cousin used to do a lot of painting and decorating for the mining company, so used to go up there frequently.

 

Turner is named after the crossing of the Turner River; it's about 1 hr out of Port Hedland, so relatively close to one end of the line.  Access is straight up the private railway access road that runs alongside the 425km long track.  It used to be a passing loop location, but now the mainline is double tracked.

 

 

They'll build a (temporary) deviation around the site to get the rail up and running again.

 

Then they'll start clearing up (at least some of) the mess.

 

It has been a while since there was a derailment of that scale in this part of the world. Often when a few wagons come off they are bulldozed out of the way and left - clearing (rebuilding) the line is priority #1 to get the trains moving again. There are a few discarded ore cars around the Pilbara at sites of old derailments. Sometimes they have to be cleaned up as part of future expansion works if they are sitting on the route of a new railbed.

 

Production is king - and right now, the artery from mine to port is severed, so yes, getting loaded trains down is key.

 

I'd suspect one of the two tracks is, under that mess, relatively unscathed; the runaway probably came off at a turnout when they switched it into the backtrack/dead end.

 

Here's a link to a derailment of a similar train, caused by a broken rail: https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5775153/ro-2015-023_final.pdf where the reponse was a rather nanchelant "the operator of the train and track, BHP Billiton, took measures to improve track condition and reduce in-service rail defects by accelerating the re-railing of 833 kilometres of track, including replacement of the track in the vicinity of the fracture"   

 

Cheers

 

Scott

 

edit 9th Nov; I spoke with someone this morning, who relayed that the runaway, travelling at approx. 125km/h, was deliberately directed over a crossover, in order to derail it before it got to the Turner River bridge, and a loaded train in front of it travelling at the 75km/h track speed....

 

That would explain why both tracks will have been shredded

 

 

 

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5775153/ro-2015-023_final.pdf

Edited by jukebox
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Newman, where the train started, is shown as being at 544 metres above sea level. The speed, from the time and distance given, is 74 kph, not mph; fast enough if you're standing trackside and watching it disappear.

 

Loaded ore trains on the Pilbara networks usually travel at 70kph. Empties are 80kph.

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I found 'Turner's Siding' on Google Maps; it really is in the middle of nowhere. There is a road, but it's right next to the railway, and presumably blocked as well.

 

There will be a rail access road near, or alongside, most of the track out there. May be bitumen if it is also a public road, otherwise it will be unsealed and periodically graded depending on the condition.

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