Rio Tinto’s Pilbara train schedule was disrupted late last month when one of its trains collided with a stolen car left abandoned on the track.
Travelling at “low speed”, the iron ore train — which was not automated and had two drivers on board — crashed into the bonnet of an empty ute encroaching on the track just north of the Tom Price townsite, in the early hours of Sunday, June 30 morning.
No one was injured in the crash.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said a “minor incident” had affected the company’s train schedule.
“A train travelling at low speed, with a driver on board, made slight contact with an abandoned stolen car which had been left on the shoulder track,” he said.
“There was no damage to the train or the track and the vehicle was removed after the incident.”
Rio declined to specify the duration of the disruption or the speed at which the train was travelling at the time.
Tom Price police, Rio Tinto emergency service officers and St John Ambulance attended the scene.
Police officer-in-charge Sergeant Nicole Mizen said the car — a company vehicle — had been reported stolen from local hotel Windawarri Lodge the previous night.
She said initially it was not known whether someone was inside the car when it was hit, creating a “frantic response”.
“It was very frightening thinking there might be someone in the car,” she said.
“You do think ‘is there going to be a person or people trapped in there or killed’, when the community has already been through so much this year.”
Police are waiting on the results of forensic tests and no charges have been laid so far.