Three people have died following a train crash near Stonehaven, south of Aberdeen, in Scotland.
The train involved, a ScotRail HST set made up of two power cars with four coaches between them, was the 06:38 from Aberdeen to Glasgow. It was lightly loaded with only a few passengers.
The train was reportedly halted south of Carmont as the line was blocked by a landslip. After a pause, the driver then reversed (the HST has a cab at both ends) to return to Aberdeen.
At Carmont, the train crossed over from going the wrong way on the southbound line to the northbound line. It continued towards Aberdeen, but then came across a second landslip – the site of the accident.
It would seem that the leading power car and one coach plunged off the embankment, while the remaining three coaches and power car piled up on the line.
The weather overnight in Scotland had been bad, with heavy rain and widespread flooding around the country.
British Transport Police (BTP) was called at 09:43, shortly after the accident. In a statement released at 16:06, it was confirmed that three people had died, one of whom is believed to have been the driver. Six others have been taken to hospital to be treated for injuries, which are not believed to be serious.
(12 Aug 2020, 21:30): One of the dead confirmed as the ScotRail conductor. Managing director Alex Hynes: “We’ve lost a passenger and now two of our own. This is a sad, sad day for Scotland’s Railway.”
(13 Aug 2020, 17:53): Driver named as ASLEF member Brett McCullough, 45 and married with three children, and the conductor as RMT member Donald Dinnie, 58, both based in Aberdeen.
Reports have also come in of four firefighters injured after being hit by a car at the scene.
(13 Aug 2020: 18:10): The passenger who died has been named as Christopher Stuchbury, aged 62 and from Aberdeen.
BTP chief superintendent Eddie Wylie said: “This is a tragic incident and first and foremost our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have very sadly died this morning.
“We remain on scene alongside our emergency service colleagues, and a major incident operation has been underway.
“I would like to reassure the public that this was not a busy service and, from CCTV enquiries and witness statements, we believe all passengers have been accounted for. However, once the area has been made safe, then a full and thorough search will be conducted, which is likely to take some time.”
“I know many people will understandably have questions, and we will be working closely alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail and Road to establish the full circumstances of how the train came to derail.”
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government, Michael Matheson, issued a statement: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives and those who were injured in this tragic rail incident near Stonehaven this morning.
“I would like to thank all the engineers and emergency services who are responding to this incident and the challenging conditions they are dealing with at this time.”
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said on Twitter: “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragic event, particularly the families of those who have lost their lives.
“The railway in Scotland is a family, and it’s one that is hurting today.
“We have teams on site and we will do all we can to support everyone affected. We are working closely with all the relevant authorities to establish the cause of this incident.”