Stonehaven derailment: Train reached speed of 73mph before crash

21 August 2020, 19:45

Three people were killed in the derailment
Three people were killed in the derailment. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The train that derailed in Aberdeenshire last week, killing three, reached speeds of almost 73mph before hitting a landslide, a report has said.

An initial report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service reached 72.8mph on Wednesday August 12.

This was said to be within the maximum of 75mph allowed on that part of the line.

It reached this speed after it was stopped by a signaller after passing Carmont, near Stonehaven, because a landslip had been reported ahead of it, the RAIB said.

After departing from Stonehaven, the train was stopped by the signaller at Carmont at 6:59am due to reports a landslip was obstructing the line.

Investigators work at the scene
Investigators work at the scene. Picture: PA

A decision was taken to run the train to Stonehaven and at 9:25am the driver was given permission to start moving north.

After reaching speeds of 72.8mph, the train "struck a landslip covering the down line and derailed" at around 9:38am, the report said

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died in the incident.

The RAIB is collecting evidence needed to identify factors relevant to the cause of the accident and its consequences.

It said the investigation is likely to include:

- The sequence of events and the actions of those involved

- Operating procedures applied

- Management of earthworks and drainage in this area, including recent inspections and risk assessments

- General management of earthworks and drainage and associated procedures designed to manage the risk of extreme weather events

- Behaviour of the train during and after the derailment

- Consequences of the derailment and a review of the damage caused to the rolling stock

- Underlying management factors

- Actions taken in response to previous safety recommendations

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