A PRELIMINARY report into a runaway loaded ore train has been released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The incident occurred on 5 November last year 211km south of Port Hedland and resulted in the derailment and destruction of two locomotives, 245 ore cars and 2km of track infrastructure.

According to the report, about an hour after making a stop, while still applying handbrakes, the driver of the train heard air venting from the brakes and noticed the train move forward slightly before starting to roll away.

Shortly after the driver alerted train control that the train was a ‘runaway’.

The automatic train protection system triggered several penalty brake applications but these proved ineffective.


The investigation is continuing with findings and recommendations to be provided in a final report later in the year.

“It is important to note that the investigation is ongoing and the ATSB is constrained about what further information can be released publicly at this time,” the bureau stated.