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Silence for victims of Stonehaven rail disaster one year on


Photo: Derek Ironside/PA

A minute’s silence was held today for the victims of the Stonehaven rail crash one year on from the disaster.

The train drivers’ union Aslef said the ScotRail derailment, which claimed three lives on August 12 last year, will be silently reflected upon by workers on Thursday morning.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train crashed into a landslide across the tracks near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, following heavy rain.

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Six other people were injured on board the train, which came off the tracks at 9.37am and would have been busier were it not for the pandemic, said Aslef.

Network Rail’s interim report on the crash found that the train “struck a pile of washed-out rock and gravel before derailing”.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has said there had been “near-continuous heavy rain” in the area between around 5.50am and 9am on the day of the crash, which caused “significant flooding”.

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The 51.5mm (2in) of rain that fell in this period was almost 75% of the monthly total in Aberdeenshire in an average August. But it was “dry and sunny” when the derailment happened at 9.37am.

The 6.38am service from Aberdeen to Glasgow was returning towards Aberdeen at the time of the accident due to the railway being blocked.

It was travelling at around 73mph – below the maximum permitted speed of 75mph for that section of track – when it struck the debris and derailed to the left, destroying a bridge barrier.

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ScotRail said all stations will come to a one-minute standstill at 9.43am on Thursday, as well as trains which are safe to do so.

Customers will be made aware of the silence through messages on boards around the country and onboard announcements.

Alex Hynes, Scotland’s Railway managing director, said: “Everyone at Scotland’s Railway will always be broken-hearted about the terrible accident at Stonehaven.

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“Today, exactly a year on, we pay tribute to Brett, Donald and Christopher, who lost their lives, and also, of course, we remember those who were injured.

“We come together as Scotland’s Railway family and we send our love and support to everyone, particularly the loved ones of the deceased, who have been affected by the tragedy.

“We will never forget.”

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