Stonehaven derailment: More than 50 safety recommendations made in report
Helicopters and drones should be used for railway inspections to avoid future incidents such as last year's train derailment at Stonehaven, a report has recommended.
Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died and six people were injured when the 06:38 Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train crashed and derailed close to Carmont, near Stonehaven.
Network Rail's interim report on the crash found that the train struck a pile of washed-out rock and gravel before derailing.
Following the accident, Network Rail commissioned a task force led by civil engineer Lord Robert Mair, which have now published an independent review.
The document is informed by the work of two independent taskforces – one which looks at weather conditions and the other at earthworks management.
More than 50 safety recommendations were made to Network Rail in the report which include increased helicopter and drones inspections, accelerated deployment of state-of-the-art weather forecasting capabilities through digital platforms.
Conservative MP Andrew Bowie said: "Carmont was a tragedy that shook Scotland and its repercussions are still being felt across the north east. It is important that Network Rail investigated the circumstances fully, so such a horrible accident can never happen again.
"The full report makes challenging reading but shows all agencies involved have treated this matter with the seriousness and urgency it deserved."
However, RMT has warned that the Government cuts agenda will damage efforts to make the rail network more resilient.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “As this report is produced our thoughts remain with the families of those who have tragically lost their lives at Stonehaven. We will examine the detail of the report carefully but we are clear we cannot make our railway more resilient to adverse rail conditions on the cheap.
“We are calling on the government to guarantee that there will be no cuts to Network Rail staff to ensure that we have the proper resources to ensure our railway is as safe and as resilient as possible to adverse weather conditions.”