The site of a ScotRail train derailment in which three people died and six were injured will not re-open for at least another month, an industry source has told The Scotsman.
However, it is also understood that no significant problems have been found in checks at other at-risk sites across the Scottish network which were ordered in the wake of the crash.
Extensive repairs will be required to the scene of the crash at Carmont in Aberdeenshire two weeks ago after investigators have completed their work on site.
Each of the wrecked carriages is expected to have to be lifted very carefully to keep them intact.
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 on 12 August following heavy rain.
Separate investigations by UK Department for Transport’s rail accidents investigation branch (RAIB) and British Transport Police are ongoing.
A temporary road and bridges have been built across fields to access the site, while cranes and lifting gear will be brought in.
‘Moved very delicately’
The source said: “It’s going to be a significant period of time until the line is re-opened.
"It will be several weeks – certainly more than four.
"Each carriage will have to be moved very delicately and preserved as well as they can be.
"Lifting those will take a good long while.
"There is an awful lot of work.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are currently constructing an access road across farmland next to the incident site to allow us to bring in specialist equipment.
"The site itself is being inspected by the RAIB and we won’t confirm timescales for the recovery of the carriages until those on-site investigations are complete.”
A spokesperson for the RAIB said: “The recovery of the train is hampered by difficult access and must be done with care to ensure both safety and preservation of evidence.
"It will therefore be some weeks before the line can be re-opened.”
A message from the Editor: