TasRail suspends remote tech after derail

A Tasmanian rail company has temporarily suspended the use of remote control technology on freight services after a runaway driverless train derailed in Devonport.

Two people were injured by flying debris when authorities deliberately derailed the TasRail freight train to bring it to a stop as it neared the heart of the city on Friday morning.

No one was on board the train, which was loaded with cement and being operated by remote control from a loading yard - a method used for more than 15 years at Devonport.

TasRail on Saturday announced it had suspended the use of all hand-held remote controls on all freight services until an investigation into the incident is complete.

A careful recovery operation has also begun to clear the damaged carriages, including four that are blocking a main freight line.

The company is using cranes to lift the first of seven damaged carriages on Saturday as workers unload the wagons to make them safer to move.

Emergency crews tried desperately to warn the public about the runaway train on Friday before it left the tracks.

But two passers by were hit by debris that went flying as the train crossed a walking track and crashed into fences near Davenport's waterfront.

"We had all our police vehicles deployed with lights and sirens," Police Inspector Stuart Wilkinson told reporters on Friday.

"That obviously indicated to people there was an issue (but) they wouldn't have been aware the train was going to derail basically in front of them."

A woman in her 20s and a man in his 40s suffered cuts and abrasions an both were transported to the North-West Regional Hospital.

TasRail chief executive Steven Dietrich spoke with the injured pair, expressing the company's concern and wishing them a speedy recovery.

Australian Associated Press