TRAINS on part of the Inverness to Wick and Thurso line have been cancelled until this evening after a freight locomotive derailed at Georgemas junction in Caithness.
ScotRail passengers are being transferred to buses between Helmsdale and the northern towns until around 6pm while engineers put the engine back on the rails.
The Scotsman understands the front wheels of the locomotive came off the track at 7:50am at a set of points as it was shunting wagons carrying pipes for the offshore oil and gas industry.
The incident comes three months after enforcement action over the state of the line was taken against Network Rail, which is responsible for tracks, by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The regulator said the route had “significant challenges” because of the historic condition of the single-track line and previous maintenance.
Network Rail described today’s incident as a “minor derailment”.
Its spokesman said: “The freight engine’s front bogie (set of wheels) became derailed while the engine was moving a portion of the train’s freight wagons into a siding.
“The engine was travelling at a very low speed when the incident occurred and no one has been injured in the incident.
“Engineers and equipment will be brought to the site today to re-rail the engine and remove the train’s remaining wagons, which are currently blocking the passenger line to Wick and Thurso.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS