Stonehaven rail crash: Landslip report submitted

A report on the rail network’s resilience to extreme weather following the Stonehaven derailment was submitted to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 2:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 5:54 pm
Investigators at the scene of the derailment. Picture: John Devlin
Investigators at the scene of the derailment. Picture: John Devlin

The urgent check by Network Rail has not uncovered any major problems on lines in Scotland, The Scotsman understands.

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) said it would be published shortly.

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The report was ordered by Mr Shapps by today’s deadline after a ScotRail train derailed when it hit a landslide following heavy rain at Carmont, near Stonehaven, on 12 August, with the death of three people aboard.

Emergency services inspecting the scene at Carmont near Stonehaven. Picture:John Devlin

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when the 6:38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train crashed.

A spokesperson for DfT said: “The Secretary of State immediately requested a full report from Network Rail and visited the site, to ensure all lessons are learned from the tragic incident near Stonehaven.

"We have received their interim report and will publish this shortly.”

Mr Shapps ordered the report when he visited the crash site two days after the derailment.

He said then: “One of the things I have asked Network Rail to do immediately, in the next few hours and days, is a very quick resilience check to make sure there isn’t another situation like this and to see if they can identify any issues.

“I have ordered a report from them, an interim, on my desk by 1 September, where I want them to check the resilience of the whole UK network, with a final report in the autumn.”

An interim report by the DfT’s rail accidents investigation branch on 21 August highlighted the possible part played by a drain in the landslip.

Investigators found that in the four hours before the crash, 75 per cent of Aberdeenshire’s total average August rainfall had fallen in the area.

Their report said a drain carrying water from land above the line washed rocks and gravel onto the tracks.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which is in charge of Network Rail spending in Scotland but not regulation, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with all the family and friends of those affected by this tragic incident.

“We have had an opportunity to review and contribute to this interim report and will take time to consider any lessons learned or recommendations made.

“However, it is the responsibility of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), not the Scottish Government, to ensure Network Rail discharges its maintenance obligations and addresses recommendations from relevant reports and we expect this to be an area which the various formal enquiries will consider.

Assurances sought

“Scottish Ministers set out our requirements in 2017 for Network Rail to address the impacts of climate change on resilience of the rail network.

"We know Network Rail has undertaken a great deal of work so far as highlighted in their interim report.

“Scotland’s transport secretary, Michael Matheson, has written to John Larkinson, interim chief executive at the ORR, seeking assurances they will continue to ensure Network Rail implements any relevant measures included in the report and to set out what actions they are taking to ensure everything is being done to protect Scottish passengers, rail workers and to prevent these events taking place in future.”

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