Stonehaven: Families pay tribute to 'much loved' rail crash victims

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The families of the driver, conductor and passenger who died in the Stonehaven rail crash said they have been left “devastated” by their deaths.

Passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, from Aberdeen, died after the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service came off the tracks on Wednesday morning amid heavy rain and flooding.

A statement released by Police Scotland said: “Chris was a much adored husband, son, dad, stepdad, granddad, brother and uncle and was a treasured and loved friend to many, including the Targe Towing Team where he was an integral and valued member of staff.

“He also volunteered at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen during his spare time which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.

“We are devastated by his death and we request privacy at this difficult time as we come to terms with our loss.”

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, a father of three, also died in the rail derailment.

The driver, conductor and a passenger died after the train derailment (PA)

Mr McCullough’s family said he was “the most decent and loving human being we have ever known”.

Originally from Bromley, Kent, Mr McCullough moved to Aberdeenshire to marry his wife Stephanie.

He worked in ScotRail’s Aberdeen depot and lived near the crash site and he was a former gas engineer who had been a train driver for seven years.

“Brett was a much loved husband, father, son and uncle who will be sorely missed by all,” his wife said in a statement.

“It is an extremely difficult time for us as a family and we would ask for privacy as we try to come to terms with our horrendous loss.”

The train’s conductor, Donald Dinnie, 58, was also killed.

Emergency services working at the scene of the crash (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The family of Mr Dinnie said he was a “a loving and proud dad, son, partner, brother, uncle and friend”.

“No words could ever describe how much he will be missed by us all and there will always be a missing piece in our hearts,” they said in a statement.

“It is so heart warming to see how many people have fond memories of Donald and I am sure they have plenty of happy and funny stories to tell.

“He was a kind, caring and genuine person who was never found without a smile on his face. We know he will be deeply missed by all.

“Together we thank each and everyone of you for your kind words and condolences but we kindly ask at this time that we have the chance to grieve privately as a family.”

Six other people were injured in the crash – four have since left Aberdeen Royal Infirmary while two remain in a stable condition.

Inspections are to be carried out across parts of the country’s rail network deemed at risk of flash flooding to avoid a repeat of the train derailment.

Network Rail will inspect trackside slopes as part of a Government-ordered review after a landslip during heavy rain and flooding is suspected to have played a part in the incident.

With dozens of emergency services still working at the scene, further evidence of the damage caused by the derailment could be seen, with one burned carriage strewn down the bank.

Fragments of a carriage could also be seen under another part of the train beside what appeared to be a carriage upside down.

Conductor Donald Dinnie died in the crash (PA)

Network Rail said it will use in-house engineers, specialist contractors and helicopter surveys to assess dozens of sites with “similar characteristics” to the stretch of railway near Stonehaven.

It will also work with meteorologists to strengthen the information it receives about flash flooding while its engineers are reviewing the remote monitoring of high-risk sites with motion sensors and CCTV to test whether it can be improved.

The measures are in response to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordering the rail infrastructure body to carry out an urgent resilience review of areas affected by recent poor weather, and issue a report this month.

The Cabinet minister, who travelled to Stonehaven on Thursday, has also requested a wider assessment of the impact of the weather on the entire rail network, resulting in an interim report by September 1 and a final analysis in the autumn.

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Network Rail boss Andrew Haines joined Mr Shapps in a helicopter survey of the site on Thursday.

Mr Haines insisted he would “not pre-empt the outcome of the investigation” but said “it is clear the weather was appalling and there were floods and landslips in the area”.

“I have asked my teams to put extra measures in place, from immediate, heightened inspections, to medium-term work with meteorologists to improve information and forecasting,” he said.

“Our network was designed for a temperate climate and it’s challenged when we get extremes such as storms and floods.

“We’re seeing this more and more and although we can address them on the ground with precautionary measures, we are acutely aware we need a long-term resolution and we had already secured additional funding and resources to help achieve this.

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Yesterday was a tragedy, a truly horrific event, and my thoughts remain with everyone affected.

“Understanding what happened is the key to making sure it never occurs again.”

A separate investigation will be carried out by Police Scotland, British Transport Police and rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, who also visited the crash site on Thursday, said: “They (Network Rail) are well aware of our views about the need to make sure that we are taking forward the right types of mitigations that help to manage a challenge of these types of localised, intense weather events.

“I think one of the things we will see what comes from the investigation is whether the pace of that type of mitigation work needs to be stepped up.

“That’s not just a challenge across Scotland, it’s across the whole of the UK.”