THE train involved in a fatal crash near Stonehaven came off the tracks after hitting a landslip, investigators have confirmed.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when carriages of the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail service derailed amid heavy rain.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) says the train slid along the ground for around 90 metres after hitting the landslip.

It then destroyed a barrier on the edge of a bridge leading the front power car and one carriage to fall down an embankment, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

Two other carriages of the ScotRail train overturned.

The Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service was stopped by a signaller after passing Carmont, near Stonehaven, because a landslip had been reported ahead of it, the RAIB said.

When it became apparent the train could not continue its journey south, the decision was taken to return it to Aberdeen.

It was routed back to Carmont where it switched on to the northbound line, and travelled for around 1.4 miles before hitting the landslip.

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The RAIB said: "When it became apparent that train 1T08 could not continue its journey south, the decision was taken to return it to Aberdeen, and it was routed back over a crossover at Carmont onto the down line. After travelling for approximately 1.4 miles (2.25km), the train struck a landslip covering the down line and derailed.

"As the track curved to the right, the train continued in a roughly straight line for around 100 yards (90 metres) until it struck a section of bridge parapet, which was destroyed.

"The leading power car continued over the bridge and then fell from the railway down a wooded embankment, as did the third passenger carriage."

The statement continues: "The first passenger carriage came to rest on its roof, having rotated to be at right angles to the track. The second passenger carriage also overturned onto its roof and came to rest on the first carriage.

"The fourth passenger carriage remained upright and attached to the rear power car; it also came to rest on the first carriage. All wheelsets of the rear power car derailed, but it remained upright."

The RAIB said it is collecting evidence to help it identify "factors relevant to the cause of the accident and its consequences".

It added that the scope of the investigation is likely to include factors such as:

  • The actions of the people involved.
  • Recent inspections of earthworks and drainage in the area.
  • Management of the risks of extreme weather.
  • Actions taken in response to previous safety recommendations.

The RAIB did not give a timeframe for when it will publish its final report.