I WATCHED in disbelief that a simple derailment at Montrose led to more than 48 hours of unnecessary chaos and passenger disruption. I can hear the voices of the ghosts of “old railway men” asking, “What’s keeping them?”

Lunchtime news on Thursday saw accident investigators sauntering along the platform as if they were out for a morning stroll, no sense of urgency. Some 24 hours after the derailment there was a mind-blowing comment: “The track under the train might be damaged and we’ve got to move it.” What in the hell were they doing in the hours after the derailment to get the train re-railed – nothing but standing about looking at it? Look guys, trains occasionally jump the track whilst traversing points, D’oh!

In what are now more and more looking like the good old days of British Rail, a heavy lift crane on its own wagon would have been dispatched from Aberdeen or Dundee (where they were kept in readiness for just such events), and given that they had no overhead electric catenary to contend with I believe the derailed front/back carriage of the diesel multi-unit would have been back on the rails before midnight. Then the gangers could have fixed the damaged track, enabling them to run a normal service on Thursday morning, albeit with a speed restriction through the damaged area. Instead we did not see the line reopening until late Friday.

It all stinks to me of being more concerned about their bottom line than their passengers’ convenience.

Charlie Gallagher

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