Stonehaven derailment: New report released

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released a new Interim Report covering their findings of the Stonehaven derailment.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:42 am
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released a new Interim Report covering their findings of the Stonehaven derailment.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released a new Interim Report covering their findings of the Stonehaven derailment.

As part of the findings, the report has said the driver of the train was told he was fine to run at normal speed before the accident.

The RAIB report said a signaller was not aware of any obstruction on the line.

He advised the driver everything was fine on the line to Stonehaven so the train could run at normal speed.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when the 06:38 Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train derailed in August last year.

It was returning to Aberdeen due to the weather at the time of the accident.

The report said: "The signaller said that everything was then fine to Stonehaven so the train could run at normal speed to there.

"As the signaller was not aware of any obstruction on the line, railway rules did not require him to instruct the driver to travel at a speed slower than the maximum normally permitted.”

The train then derailed at Carmont.

When the train hit the debris, the leading power car derailed and deviated towards the cess, running for around 60 metres before it hit the bridge parapet.

This caused the power car to fall off the bridge and down the embankment.

The driver’s cab became detached on impact with the ground.

The first carriage came to rest on its roof at a near right angle with the track.

The second carriage came to rest on its roof with its rear end on top of the first coach, after spinning 180 degrees.

The third coach came to rest on its right-hand side, whilst the fourth coach remained upright but came to rest on top of the first coach, the rear power car remained on the downline, attached to the fourth coach.

The RAIB has said that even if an Extreme Weather Action Teleconference had taken place, it was unlikely the accident would have been avoided as it did not require “any mitigation to be applied at or near the site of the accident”.

It also said that at the time of the accident, Network Rail had no formal procedure requiring an immediate review of restrictions after multiple weather events, such as those at Laurencekirk on the morning of the accident.

The main areas being considered by RAIB as part of its ongoing investigation include:

The railway’s responses to severe weather events and weather-related infrastructure failures The competence and training of operational staff to deal effectively with such events The railway’s management systems and decision-making processes at times of wide-spread disruption caused by severe weather and/or multiple instances of infrastructure failure The railway’s use of weather data to help it manage events Recommendations for the improvement of railway safety.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: "We remain absolutely committed to learning lessons from the tragedy last summer that cost the lives of Brett McCullough, Christopher Stuchbury and Donald Dinnie.

"We welcome RAIB's interim report and we continue to cooperate with all ongoing investigations as we seek to understand what happened."

The RAIB says it will publish their complete findings, and any recommendations, when they have finished the investigation.

The report can be viewed here.