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BHP suspends rail in WA over runaway train

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

The driver of the BHP-operated train, which was loaded with iron ore, got out to inspect an issue with one of its 268 wagons early on Monday and it took off without him, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau says.

The train was travelling on BHP’s Newman to Port Hedland line in the Pilbara region, a remote area.

It was deliberately derailed at a set of points, operated by a control centre, about 119km from Port Hedland.

No one was injured.

BHP’s iron ore operations were suspended while the incident was being investigated, a BHP spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters.

The ATSB, which is also investigating the incident, said the damage to the train was substantial.

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