BHP derails runaway iron ore train

 
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Latest from the ATSB

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/rair/ro-2018-018/
They're off to a good start - can't even spell 'Hedland'.
YM-Mundrabilla
I do not understand this comment, the name of the place IS actually Port Hedland, so they do have it correct.

woodford

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  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
To make it completely failsafe, the Reverser would unlock the door of the cab of the locomotive so drivers do not 'forget' taking the reverser.
F4PhantomRAAF
What happens in an emergency, the driver has to remember to grab the reverser before bailing out of the cab? Could cost valuable seconds.

What about in the case of a major incident with 2 people in the cab (trainer / trainee / second person), the driver is injured or incapacitated, or is it only the driver's side door that has this system?

BG
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Given that the train travelled for such a distance and at speed, the initial stop to check the crook wagon, may have been unnesscesary.Crying or Very sad
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Had a look on google earth there's a short steepish (1 in 75) coming off the range (at around 210km) then the next 90 kilometres the line only falls 200 metres, ie average grade around 1 in 400. SO it likely was not going to fast when they derailed it. Now a VLine pass will survive 60kph points at 115kph, but a freight will not, the iron ore wagons are much more top heavy so a train like this does not need to be going to quick to make a massive mess.

There's an MSTS trainsim route (with rolling stock) of this line, the route has been done with much help from BHP. The route while a bit basic in scenery is accurate, and the rolling stock physics has been specially tweeked for accuracy (confirmed by actual drivers of the line). So it would be quite possible to set up this situation in the sim.

From driving this sim the braking needs to be twin pipe ECP, the consist is 2 Dash9's around 85 wagons another 2 Dash9's another 85 wagons another 2 Dash9's and another 85 wagons. If the braking is non ECP, the release pressure rise in the brake pipe has to propagate through 42 wagons (85 for the wagons at the tail end) and this takes to long and one loses control of the train on almost any down slope. Twin pipe ECP works very well though. A train this size I found a REAL handfull to drive and one needs to think well in advance. Takes ages to get up to 80kph and the inertia is fantastic will roll for miles and miles.

woodford
  M636C Minister for Railways

From driving this sim the braking needs to be twin pipe ECP, the consist is 2 Dash9's around 85 wagons another 2 Dash9's another 85 wagons another 2 Dash9's and another 85 wagons. If the braking is non ECP, the release pressure rise in the brake pipe has to propagate through 42 wagons (85 for the wagons at the tail end) and this takes to long and one loses control of the train on almost any down slope. Twin pipe ECP works very well though. A train this size I found a REAL handfull to drive and one needs to think well in advance. Takes ages to get up to 80kph and the inertia is fantastic will roll for miles and miles.

The actual consist should be two SD70ACe locomotives, 134 wagons, two SD70ACe locaotives, another 134 wagons.
ECP braking is used.

In 1975 I rode a train down the grade in question with a trainee driver in control. The train had three Alco 636 locomotives and 110 wagons. The trainee driver was clearly terrified for the whole descent, despite being monitored by a qualified driver.

It has just been proved that the train will run for 92 kilometres with no power applied. It would have weighed around 42400 tonnes. The train stopped on the steepest grade on the system, 1.5% or 1in 66.

BHP had used Dash 7 and Dash 8 locomotives but never owned any Dash 9s



Peter
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Latest from the ATSB

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/rair/ro-2018-018/
They're off to a good start - can't even spell 'Hedland'.
I do not understand this comment, the name of the place IS actually Port Hedland, so they do have it correct.

woodford
woodford
It was originally spelt 'Headland' by ATSB but has since been corrected.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I count 27 wagons still on the track (from the helicopter footage). Meaning there's 241 wagons squashed into a pile that appears shorter than the remaining wagons are long (a compression rate of 10:1!).

Was there a loop siding at this location, and the points were simply changed for the diverge? If so, how could they be sure the train was travelling fast enough to derail rather than just moving into the loop?
Or were the points changed under the train, causing it to split them?
bramt
Location is called "Turners Siding"!

But looking at Video footage you can see the twin tracks on front train side.

Looking at the mess and using your number of wagons no longer intact on the rails, I think we can assume there was alot of energy or speed involved. So if the turn out speed is low enough, physics will do the rest.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
May have been discussed but video is available  here https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/vision-shows-the-twisted-and-mangled-remains-of-a-runaway-train-derailed-by-bhp

https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=download.view&id=1144

More images from the video





Loco?

  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
While in Newman a few months ago a train was parked up for the day, with locos running. My guess was to keep the brakes charged. Saves having to apply handbrakes I suppose.
A loco may also be kept idling for a period if:
  • the fuel is cheaper than the wear and tear inflicted by a shutdown and cold start, or
  • the period of the delay is unknown and it may need to be moved at short notice, or
  • if the loco is known to have reliability issues associated with a cold start.

Handbrakes may be used as well, if required by the operator's safeworking rules. It would be hoped that operators around the world would have reviewed their procedures regarding securing of unattended trains, and upgraded them if necessary, after the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster
justapassenger
Is this what happened to that massive oil train derailment and subsequent explosion and fire that wiped out most of a town in Canada. Engine left running for the night while driver slept off-train to keep brakes charged, but engine was faulty and subsequently stopped and driver had failed to properly secure the train with required number of hand brakes.

With engine failed, brake pipe depressurized, insufficient number of hand brakes, the train decided gravity sucks and went on its merry way on its own until a curve in middle of town.

So leaving the engine running in-lieu of hand brakes is well known risk!
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
In the video now avalable https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=download.view&id=1144 you can clearly see one locomotive completely destroyed.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Dash cam avaliable? Or will it be released?

Probably the only option, but it would have required a bit SET, to decide to put it in the dirt.

Just a hypothetical, but are mid train units capable of being a usable space to pull up the runaway, or isolated in terms of braking? Possible locked externally. Not suggesting anyone being a superhero, if I were Johnny on the spot, I'd be standing well clear. Great there was no damage to life and limb.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Location is called "Turners Siding"!

But looking at Video footage you can see the twin tracks on front train side.

Looking at the mess and using your number of wagons no longer intact on the rails, I think we can assume there was alot of energy or speed involved. So if the turn out speed is low enough, physics will do the rest.


Looking at the official curve and gradient diagram book that I was issued with in 1976, the location at 120km is called "Turner" after the nearby (112km) Turner River. This was a 2km long passing siding in 1976 but is now just a location on the double track line. The points may have given access to a short siding for track machines or damaged wagons.

The train was stopped at 211km on a falling 1 in 66 grade (the steepest on the line) at an elevation of 450 metres. The line was  almost continuously falling gradients to Turner, at an elevation of 210 metres. It is assumed that the brakes remained applied and that the locomotives remained in idle. The train used ECP brakes, so it is unlikely that any change in the brake setting occurred in the relatively short time the train was being inspected. It appears that while the brake application was enough to stop the train it was not enough to continue to hold it on the steep grade.

Since the locomotives were in idle and the brakes were applied, the vigilance control system was probably not activated.

An early statement suggested forty wagons were destroyed. It may be more than that. But clearly less than half the 238 wagons on the train. I assume the two leading locomotives were badly damaged but the two locomotives mid train and trailing 119 wagons had been moved away and were presumably undamaged.

Had the train stopped at 216 km, the train would have been on level track. I think it was a bad choice by the train driver to stop on the steepest grade on the line, but presumably he had been advised to stop (by a hot box detector?) and Control agreed to his stopping.

Peter
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Another video has arrived onto the site

https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=download.view&id=1145
  ANR Deputy Commissioner

So the question now is, how long before the track is fixed and the debris is removed? ABC reported that it could take a week.

How long did it take to clear the last wrecked train out at Rawlinna?

Do they build a detour track first and then take their time fixing the original alignment?
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

Like Bing, I'm a little confused. Have BHP suspended rail operations while their mainline is buried under several thousand tonnes of iron ore and mangled steel? Would it be too cynical to suggest that the clean up will be completed at around the same time as the  in house investigator determines that operations may resume subject to a few conditions? I think it's called taking the pee.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
So the question now is, how long before the track is fixed and the debris is removed? ABC reported that it could take a week.

How long did it take to clear the last wrecked train out at Rawlinna?

Do they build a detour track first and then take their time fixing the original alignment?
ANR
Not a week in my estimation to make a track available.
Spilled ore and damaged wagons - shovel ore and drag wagons aside - not long.
No comparison with Rawlinna so far as location, traffic type or operator. Turner is civilisation compared with Rawlinna.
Not much comparison between BHP and the PNs/SCTs/BananaRails of this world either.
Be interesting to know how much of the delay is attributed to the ATSB and associated bureaucrats.
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
Is this what happened to that massive oil train derailment and subsequent explosion and fire that wiped out most of a town in Canada. Engine left running for the night while driver slept off-train to keep brakes charged, but engine was faulty and subsequently stopped and driver had failed to properly secure the train with required number of hand brakes. With engine failed, brake pipe depressurized, insufficient number of hand brakes, the train decided gravity sucks and went on its merry way on its own until a curve in middle of town. So leaving the engine running in-lieu of hand brakes is well known risk!
RTT_Rules
That accident, there were 2 locomotives, one was shut down, the other was running and caught fire. They could have restarted the other loco but didn’t. BHP use in the area I was travelling 4 locos, and they all have autostart so they would need 4 failures for that to happen.

Rio Tinto Dampier was shut down for maintenance while I went through and all their locos were still running. Even ones lounging about the sheds.
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

Location is called "Turners Siding"!

But looking at Video footage you can see the twin tracks on front train side.

Looking at the mess and using your number of wagons no longer intact on the rails, I think we can assume there was alot of energy or speed involved. So if the turn out speed is low enough, physics will do the rest.


Looking at the official curve and gradient diagram book that I was issued with in 1976, the location at 120km is called "Turner" after the nearby (112km) Turner River. This was a 2km long passing siding in 1976 but is now just a location on the double track line. The points may have given access to a short siding for track machines or damaged wagons.

The train was stopped at 211km on a falling 1 in 66 grade (the steepest on the line) at an elevation of 450 metres. The line was  almost continuously falling gradients to Turner, at an elevation of 210 metres. It is assumed that the brakes remained applied and that the locomotives remained in idle. The train used ECP brakes, so it is unlikely that any change in the brake setting occurred in the relatively short time the train was being inspected. It appears that while the brake application was enough to stop the train it was not enough to continue to hold it on the steep grade.

Since the locomotives were in idle and the brakes were applied, the vigilance control system was probably not activated.

An early statement suggested forty wagons were destroyed. It may be more than that. But clearly less than half the 238 wagons on the train. I assume the two leading locomotives were badly damaged but the two locomotives mid train and trailing 119 wagons had been moved away and were presumably undamaged.

Had the train stopped at 216 km, the train would have been on level track. I think it was a bad choice by the train driver to stop on the steepest grade on the line, but presumably he had been advised to stop (by a hot box detector?) and Control agreed to his stopping.

Peter
M636C
Correction, it is a 268 car train, 40,000 tonnes.

Newman to Hedland is one of the oldest Pilbara lines and I have it visualised in my head from other sources/drivers and such.

Peter you are correct. Yet the Locomotive brake would automatically isolate the vigilance system (deadman system) thus not providing enough brake to hold it on the grade.

Modern locomotives also have a movement alarm when reverser is set in neutral.

I doubt the reverser was set and not even removed.

If proper Driver Only Operations procedures were followed I doubt this would have happened.

I know that with DOO the reverser must be taken off the locomotive and the cab locked.

The movement alarm would have applied emergency brake application thus saving BHP a few hundred million dollars.

It is my suggestion that the cab doors have a receptacle for the reverser which unlocks them, then a key is released which must be taken so the door can be opened and the door can be locked on the outside with this. If not, a breach alarm would sound at train control.

I have a feeling that in the past 5 years BHP has been taking non-experienced locomotive drivers (for political correctness) and this may be the result. I highly doubt an experienced driver has done this. There is a possibility, but I doubt it.

And with today's companies and universities (culture) focusing more on quotas and political correctness so as not to offend people and to feel good about themselves, the basics have been forgotten and not kept in mind.

If there was a minimum application on the train brake there should have been evidence like sparks and heat. So far this has not surfaced.

Daniel
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

Like Bing, I'm a little confused. Have BHP suspended rail operations while their mainline is buried under several thousand tonnes of iron ore and mangled steel? Would it be too cynical to suggest that the clean up will be completed at around the same time as the  in house investigator determines that operations may resume subject to a few conditions? I think it's called taking the pee.
fzr560

Funny that, I thought the same thing. How convenient.
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

While in Newman a few months ago a train was parked up for the day, with locos running. My guess was to keep the brakes charged. Saves having to apply handbrakes I suppose.
A loco may also be kept idling for a period if:
  • the fuel is cheaper than the wear and tear inflicted by a shutdown and cold start, or
  • the period of the delay is unknown and it may need to be moved at short notice, or
  • if the loco is known to have reliability issues associated with a cold start.

Handbrakes may be used as well, if required by the operator's safeworking rules. It would be hoped that operators around the world would have reviewed their procedures regarding securing of unattended trains, and upgraded them if necessary, after the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster
Is this what happened to that massive oil train derailment and subsequent explosion and fire that wiped out most of a town in Canada. Engine left running for the night while driver slept off-train to keep brakes charged, but engine was faulty and subsequently stopped and driver had failed to properly secure the train with required number of hand brakes.

With engine failed, brake pipe depressurized, insufficient number of hand brakes, the train decided gravity sucks and went on its merry way on its own until a curve in middle of town.

So leaving the engine running in-lieu of hand brakes is well known risk!
RTT_Rules

That is also a good case.

The locomotives were shut down by the fire department due to sparks/fire coming from the locomotive/s. As there were no handbrakes and the emergency services (need to watch documentary again as I am not sure if they-fire department-advised the Railroad) didn't advise anyone. The air leaked off and hours later the train ran away. The same thing happened in Esperance Western Australia (the date at this stage is unknown) from Grass Patch. But that situation was that a few handbrakes were applied but not enough.

That could be circa 1980s in Esperance, Western Australia. I think the wagons/train ran right through town onto the wharf. Driverless. Just like on Sunday except it didn't get to Port Hedland.

Then there was the San Bernardino Disaster. Google it.
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

Today Channel 9 has confirmed BHP's systems were saying the train was doing 150kph.

Currently I cannot find the story on their facebook page but it was in their 6pm bulletin.
[EDIT] Runaway train reached speeds of 'up to 150km/h' [EDIT]

Also they said video of the train moving at speed (so fast it was a dust cloud) has emerged and may be BHP equipment.

I guess when the ATSB report and Rail regulator investigation is complete, we may get to see stunning evidence.

One thing I need to confirm is the State Regulator (Rail) is doing a separate investigation?

Daniel
  F4PhantomRAAF Locomotive Driver

To make it completely failsafe, the Reverser would unlock the door of the cab of the locomotive so drivers do not 'forget' taking the reverser.
What happens in an emergency, the driver has to remember to grab the reverser before bailing out of the cab? Could cost valuable seconds.

What about in the case of a major incident with 2 people in the cab (trainer / trainee / second person), the driver is injured or incapacitated, or is it only the driver's side door that has this system?

BG
BrentonGolding
Driver Only Operations.

Over the last 20 years with the onset of DOO it has largely been unregulated and Australia has been slow to have a regulator rise in equal to that of CASA for aviation.

In the USA the Federal Railroad Administration is equal to that of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and since the tonnages and dangerous goods carried in Australia are very high, highly explosive and dangerous respectively, we really need this. Many towns are vulnerable to trains causing disaster in Australia.

But the suggestion stands. If Operators are going automatic anyway I doubt you will find 3 people in the cab. Unless they realize they should be responsible and have someone.



If a cab was set up for DOO mainline operations and a crew of three were going to board it, then a supervisor could disable the system. But this would be illuminated in Train Control as Runaway DOO Disabled. Once a DOO begins the Train Control would not clear signals or authorise it until the illumination was gone and showed DOO runaway enabled.
  NIR112 Beginner

Apart from 4472 are the loco numbers known yet and were the midtrain ones destroyed as well as the leaders?
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Today Channel 9 has confirmed BHP's systems were saying the train was doing 150kph.

Currently I cannot find the story on their facebook page but it was in their 6pm bulletin.
[EDIT] Runaway train reached speeds of 'up to 150km/h' [EDIT]

Also they said video of the train moving at speed (so fast it was a dust cloud) has emerged and may be BHP equipment.

I guess when the ATSB report and Rail regulator investigation is complete, we may get to see stunning evidence.

One thing I need to confirm is the State Regulator (Rail) is doing a separate investigation?

Daniel
F4PhantomRAAF
Yes the ONRSR can carry out an investigation separate to the ATSB or WorkCover.

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