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Massive Rio Tinto train crash

An autonomous Rio Tinto iron ore train crashed near Karratha just after midnight on May 13, 2024. Picture: Supplied
An autonomous Rio Tinto iron ore train crashed near Karratha just after midnight on May 13, 2024. Picture: Supplied

Mining giant Rio Tinto is investigating a serious train collision on its rail network in Western Australia.

One of its autonomous trains smashed into a set of stationary wagons about 80km from Karratha in the state’s Pilbara region just after midnight on Monday.

The company confirmed no one was injured in the smash but three locomotives and 22 wagons were impacted.

“We have notified the appropriate regulators and commenced an investigation,” a spokesman said.

“Work will soon begin to clear the rail line.”

The smash impacted three locomotives and 22 wagons. Picture: Supplied
The smash impacted three locomotives and 22 wagons. Picture: Supplied

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator is also looking into the collision.

“The recovery train is reported to have collided with the ore train it was sent to recover, after it was disabled by a mechanical failure,” a spokesman said.

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“Three locomotives and 20 wagons were derailed.

“ONRSR is investigating the incident and will be making a series of inquiries, at this stage these are focused on the operation of and adherence to signalling systems in the area.”

Iron ore giant Rio Tinto boasts a 2000km rail network in WA. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith
Iron ore giant Rio Tinto boasts a 2000km rail network in WA. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sharon Smith

The train was carrying iron ore when it collided with the stationary wagons, though the volume of material is unclear.

Rio, a $179bn behemoth, boasts a 2000km rail network as part of its vast iron ore operations across the state, shipping iron ore from pit to port.

Monday’s collision is the second smash up to hit the company this year.

In February, one of its autonomous trains derailed about 120km from Dampier port, impacting 38 wagons.