The mangled wreckage of BHP's runaway train which derailed in Western Australia

The mangled wreckage of BHP's runaway train which derailed in Western Australia

BHP deliberately derailed the train following a runaway incident where the train took off while the driver had left the cabin to investigate an issue.

The cost in damages of a runaway freight train that was deliberately derailed in Western Australia after travelling 92km without its driver could add up to $50 million, according to analysts.

The footage shows the twisted wreckage of the two-kilometre long train, some carriages partly buried under mounds of iron ore.

The driver of the 268-car train had stopped around 80 kilometres earlier to inspect one of the wagons. It had been travelling from Newman to Port Hedland when the driver got out at a siding to inspect an issue with an ore vehicle, before the train started moving again.

There was no indication of what had caused the train to move without its driver.

No one was injured in the derailment.

And as the company grapples with how, exactly, one of its trains came to be traveling driverless, it's worth noting that another iron ore company has been working to develop (purposely) driverless trains in Australia. BHP is planning to draw from its stockpiles at Port Hedland as it repairs its rail service, The West Australian reported.

The incident has since promoted conversations about automated, driverless trains amid debates on safety and jobs.

"I've seen automated haul packs in operation - they appear to be very, very safe", WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

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

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

"The uncertainty it creates about people with their jobs and employment going forward", Greg Busson from the CFMEU told 9News.

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.

In 2015, 25 cars derailed on the same train line and blocked the track in both directions.

BHP suffered a smaller derailment of 40 wagon cars previous year and two derailments in 2015.

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