Driver turns back on train, loses it


Why does the teaser image have a G&W loco, when the BHP livery is so much more radical?


That’s why I was confused, because Democrat is a US term for a party there. And while there is a Liberal Democratic party in Australia, I don’t think they’re very big nor call themselves “Democrats”.


For one thing, the trains drive on the left side.


I learned from the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy-thriller Silver Streak (1976) that a train’s dead man switch can be defeated by putting a toolbox on the pedal.


See, I thought of this, but only because I used to do it as a dramatic interpretation for speech competitions. I did not win any.


For around 50 minutes, the 1.2-mile locomotive sped along with 268 wagons in tow until authorities decided to remotely derail it from BHP’s operations center almost 1,000 miles away in Perth.

The locomotive got free when its driver stepped out of his cab to check on one of the wagons. However, before he could get back in, the train had already set off on its unplanned journey. “While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to run away,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau explained.

I still cant figure out what happened.

The driver could not get back in his cab (locked out?).

The ATSB remotely controlled the train and decoupled cab from the wagons, so the cab would (only) derail at a certain known place on the tracks. [They can remotely decouple cars but cannot remotely brake a runaway train? OK…]

They also say “the locomotive got free when its driver stepped out. But before he could get back in the train had already set out on its unplanned journey.” Presumably the “unplanned” part was the derailment. But “before he could get back in” makes it sound like he was trying to get back in and then the cab somehow separates on its own.

It doesn’t seem clear what happened. Why couldnt the engineer get back in? The decoupling was intentional, so that only the cab derailed, yes? What part of the journey was “unplanned”-- did they shunt the cab onto a different line for the derailment?

Thread derail: achievement unlocked!


“until authorities decided to remotely derail it from BHP’s operations center almost 1,000 miles away in Perth”

Got to watch those unattended trains sneaking into your operations centre.


Its happened before


Its a very long freight train and it looks like he had to walk back a long way to investigate a problem. When it started to run away he was too far from the cabin to jump back in.


An autopilot for a train would be dead easy, but I doubt the unions would approve. You’d think the government would mandate at least automatic speed controls (linked to gps).


From the BBC:

In July, rival company Rio Tinto said it had become the world’s first miner to complete a heavy freight journey with new driverless train technology.

Why, they’re just trying to keep up with the Joneses!


Sad, pale echo, but it’s kind of startling that he still had the use of all his limbs after what he did at the height of his career:


If I were to lose my train, I would lose it, too.


Ahhh… that’s brilliant. The General is one of my favorite silent films – I adore Buster Keaton even more than Charlie Chaplin. And this, according to wikipedia is one his last films, and his last silent films. Far out.

This kind of chronicles the end of many different eras – there’s all this live steam rolling stock, but there are no steam engines – 65’ is the official era of diesel-ization at least in the west. And with Keaton’s passing, this is the end of silent films.


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