Stonehaven: Railworkers look back on tragic train crash in Scotland one year on

Railway staff will remember the victims of the Stonehaven rail crash one year on from the tragedy with "enormous sadness".

One of the carriage being lifted from the site of the Stonehaven rail crash. Railway staff will remember the victims of the Stonehaven rail crash one year on from the tragedy with "enormous sadness" (Photo: Derek Ironside/Newsline Media/PA Wire).
One of the carriage being lifted from the site of the Stonehaven rail crash. Railway staff will remember the victims of the Stonehaven rail crash one year on from the tragedy with "enormous sadness" (Photo: Derek Ironside/Newsline Media/PA Wire).

The train drivers' union Aslef said the Scotrail train derailment, which claimed three lives on August 12 last year, would be reflected upon by workers on Thursday.

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 into a landslide across the tracks near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, following heavy rain.

Hide Ad

Six other people were injured onboard the train, which came off the tracks at 9.37am and would have been busier were it not for the pandemic, said Aslef.

Network Rail's interim report on the crash found the train "struck a pile of washed-out rock and gravel before derailing".

Hide Ad

Kevin Lindsay, Aslef's organiser in Scotland, said: "It is with enormous sadness that we remember the event, which is still fresh and raw in all our minds.

"The accident cast a long shadow across the railway industry, not just here in Scotland, but throughout the United Kingdom.

Hide Ad

"We will never forget Brett and Donald, who were doing their jobs, and Christopher, who was going about his business, but we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the railway is made safe for passengers and staff so that accidents of this sort do not happen again."

Read More
Covid Scotland: Herd immunity 'not possible' with Delta variant, says Oxford exp...
Hide Ad

Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan, added: "We will also reflect on what needs to be done to ensure that the infrastructure of Britain's railways is not neglected, so that accidents of this sort do not happen again."

Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association general secretary, said the deaths were "were felt across our railway family and our thoughts are with their families today".

Hide Ad

He said: "The sad truth is that we will see more such tragedies caused by climate change unless we act now.

"As we've seen just this week, extreme rainfall events, and their consequences, are becoming more common as our climate changes - and unless we take urgent action now to halt its progress those changes will become permanent and irreversible."

Hide Ad

In April, crash investigators were focusing on the "lack of an effective drainage inspection regime".

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said there was "no evidence" a drainage system involved in the fatal accident had been fully inspected since its construction in 2012.

Hide Ad

The report said there was "near-continuous heavy rain" in the area between around 5.50am and 9am on the day of the crash, which caused "significant flooding".

The 51.5mm of rain that fell in this period was almost 75% of the monthly total in Aberdeenshire in an average August.

Hide Ad

But it was "dry and sunny" when the derailment happened at 9.37am.

The 6.38am service from Aberdeen to Glasgow was returning towards Aberdeen at the time of the accident due to the railway being blocked.

Hide Ad

It was travelling at around 73mph - below the maximum permitted speed of 75mph for that section of track - when it struck the debris and derailed to the left, destroying a bridge barrier.

The train's power car and one of its four carriages fell down an embankment.

Hide Ad

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Hide Ad

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.