Millipedes Blamed for Train Collision in Australia

Posted on September 3, 2013

Millipedes are being blamed for the collision of two trains in Australia. News.com.au reports that a moving train collided with a stationary train on a Joondalup Line, a railway line in Perth, Australia. The collision occurred at a low speed, but there were several injuries.

The millipedes are the Ommatoiulus moreletii, also known as the black Portuguese millipede. The millipedes are 20 to 45 millimeters (0.8-1.8 inches) long. Hundreds of the millipedes were spotted on the tracks near the collision. Another reason millipedes are suspected as the cause of the crash is that it has nearly happened before. A millipede infestation caused train tracks to become slippery last year. An infestation led to cancellations in 2009.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes told The West Australian that millipede infestations can make the tracks slimy. He says, "When the train squashes them they tend to make the tracks slimy. That's a phenomenon we're aware of and we will investigate whether it was a factor at Clarkson."

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