Runaway train reached speeds of 'up to 150km/h'

Mining giant BHP which owns the four-locomotive train decided to derail before it reached the town of Port Hedland near its Western Australia Pilbara site and flicked the points

"There was no hesitation in derailing that train because it posed a safety risk down the track", Port Hedland Mayor Camillo Blanco said.

Former train workers told 9NEWS if the driver left the train idling with the brake on, it's likely gravity caused the train to move, particularly because the tracks are on steep terrain.

For a whopping 57 miles, a runaway train loaded with iron ore hurtled down tracks in Western Australia with nobody on board.

"Had it been closer to a built up area another train coming from another area, so many possibilities that are dangers and hazard I'm just glad it happened where it did", the CFMEU's Greg Busson said. No one was injured and the incident is under investigation.

While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train commenced to runaway.

The train was traveling on BHP's rail line from Newman to Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The train began its getaway when the driver stepped off to inspect a wagon.

Industry specialists were confused about why the train would have run away down the tracks.

"However, we are working with the appropriate authorities and our focus remains on the safe recovery of our operations".

But it took off without him, and a team of remote train operators in BHP's control room were forced to carry out an intentional derailment.

Analysts think iron ore prices could see a short-term bump as a result of this derailment, according to the news service.

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

With the capesize market already plagued by lacklustre Chinese demand for coal and iron ore, the BHP outage has depressed the sentiment further, according to Banchero Costa's head of research Ralph Leszczynski.

The Rio Tinto company says it completed its first delivery of iron ore using an autonomous train in July.



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