Transport secretary Grant Shapps compares Stonehaven crash site to a 'Hornby train set thrown up in the air'

The transport secretary made the comment while he was speaking in the Commons.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 1:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th September 2020, 5:55 pm

The site of a fatal Stonehaven crash which killed three people resembled a “Hornby train set thrown up in the air”, according to the transport secretary.

Grant Shapps made the comparison when the tragic incident was raised by Labour as the party pressed about privatisation in the Commons today, Thursday, 17 September.

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The crash killed driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury when a ScotRail service came off the tracks in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, following a bout of bad weather on August 12 this year.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, likened the site of the Stonehaven crash to "a Hornby train set thrown up in the air."
Grant Shapps, transport secretary, likened the site of the Stonehaven crash to "a Hornby train set thrown up in the air."

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Network Rail said the train hit a pile of “washed-out rock and gravel before derailing” which had been caused by the heavy rainfall.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Shapps said: “I went to the scene of the tragedy.

“I was taken over in a helicopter. It was like a Hornby train set thrown up in the air.

“And our thoughts and prayers are with, not just the three who died, but those who were injured and the emergency workers and the brave people who rescued them.

“Our thoughts are with them all.

“The House will have noticed that I issued the Network Rail interim report on Stonehaven a week or two back which comes to some very important interim conclusions and I’ll update the House further with the full report shortly.”

Kevin Lindsay, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen organiser in Scotland, hit back at Shapps’ comment.

He said: “It is unfortunate in the extreme that the Secretary of State for Transport should make such a glib remark.

"This was a real accident, involving real people - three of whom died, and six of whom were injured - and a real train. It was not a Hornby model train set thrown up in the air in a Tory government minister’s playroom.

"Mr Shapps really should think more carefully about what he says and how he says it. Because he is treading on the feelings of the families and friends and colleagues of those who died.”

Investigators have reported the train was travelling at nearly 73mph, close to the 75mph speed limit for that stretch of line, when it derailed.

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