This week Network Rail are beginning the careful procedure of recovering the carriages involved in the tragic accident that occurred on the 12th of Aug at Stonehaven.
The ScotRail service derailed after striking a landslip and heartbreakingly, three lives were lost. Drive Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.
Specialist engineers will use a 600-tonne crawler crane to carefully lift the derailed carriages from the railway in a process that’s expected to take place over the coming days
Contractors and teams across Network Rail have carried out a huge amount of work at the site to prepare for this intricate operation.
To allow access to the site for the specialist lifting equipment, a new 900-metre road has been constructed as well as a temporary bridge.
Plans for the delicate process have been put together by the police, accident investigators and other partner agencies.
Once the carriages have been removed from the site, engineers will be able to fully assess the extent of damage done and see what repairs are required on the tracks and bridge.
No exact timescales can be placed on the reopening of the line until these thorough inspections are complete.
Following the accident, Network Rail reacted accordingly and put in place a number of additional safety measures.
As an immediate precaution, hundreds of sites nationwide with high-risk trackside slopes, similar to Stonehaven, were inspected.
These inspections were carried out by both in-house engineers and specialist contractors, supplemented by helicopter surveys.
Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “August 12 was a devastating day with the loss of Brett, Donald and Christopher in this tragic accident.
“While we will now begin the process of recovering the carriages and repairing the railway, we do so with a heavy heart. We will continue to work closely with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch throughout this recovery process so we can learn from this terrible event and help prevent similar accidents.”
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrasture and Connectivety, Michael Matheson visited the site on Monday (7 Sept). Following his visit he said: “My thoughts continue to remain with the family and friends of those affected by this tragic incident. I’m here today to understand the scale of the work being undertaken and to show my, and the Scottish Government’s, continued support for those involved in the investigation, recovery and service restoration.
“The RAIB investigation will ensure that any safety lessons are learned quickly and I will be interested to hear what comes of this and how Network Rail can take these forward in the future. An investigation of this type is so comprehensive and it will now take time to restore the site of the incident so rail services can be reintroduced as soon as possible. As we move towards the recovery phase and given the scale of this enormous challenge, I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts undertaken at the site.”
Images: Network Rail