Stonehaven crash: Train neared 73mph before fatal derailment

The derailment of the ScotRail train caused the death of three people. Credit: PA

The train that derailed near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, killing three people, reached speeds of almost 73mph before the crash, according to a report.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said that the Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service reached 72.8mph on the morning of the crash on August 12.

It said this is within the maximum speed of 75mph allowed on that part of the line.

The scene near Stonehaven after the derailment of the ScotRail train Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The report said the train reached 72.8mph after it was stopped by a signaller at 6.59am after passing Carmont, near Stonehaven, because a landslip had been reported ahead of it, the RAIB said.

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.

Christopher Stuchbury (left) and Donald Dinnie (right) were killed alongside the driver Brett McCullough. Credit: PA/Police Scotland

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.

According to the RAIB, 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