Train driver and conductor killed in Aberdeenshire derailment named

The driver and conductor of a ScotRail train who died in yesterday’s derailment in Aberdeenshire have been named.

Train driver Brett McCullough and conductor Donald Dinnie have been confirmed as two of the three victims of the fatal crash.

A passenger, who has not yet been named, also died in the incident, while six others were treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Conductor Donald Dinnie also died in the Stonehaven crash

On Wednesday, the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service crashed near Stonehaven, an area that had been hit by heavy rain and flooding.

Emergency service workers were called to the scene at about 9.40am, with dozens of emergency service vehicles – including an air ambulance – attending.

Aerial shots showed one carriage completely overturned, with rail industry sources telling the PA news agency that the suspected cause of the crash was a landslip.

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for the train drivers’ union Aslef, described how Mr McCullough “thought the world of his family, and his colleagues thought the world of him”.

The 45-year-old leaves behind wife Stephanie and three children, two girls and a boy.

The former gas engineer was said to have been servicing the boiler of an Aberdeen train driver when they started chatting about the job and Mr McCullough subsequently decided to join the railways.

Aerial footage of Stonehaven train derailment

Following the fatal derailment, Network Rail will carry out emergency inspections on higher-risk railway embankments as an immediate precaution.

The checks – which will also involve a helicopter survey – will take place on areas of railway track with earth cuttings that are similar to those at Stonehaven.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines was due to visit the crash site on Thursday after reportedly cutting short a family holiday in Italy.

He said: “Tragic incidents, like the one near Stonehaven, are thankfully incredibly rare.

“Our railway is the safest major railway in Europe but it was designed for a temperate climate, and it’s challenged when we get extremes such as storms and floods.

“We’re seeing more of these types of weather as our climate changes, and although we can usually address them on the ground, by slowing trains down or diverting them, we are acutely aware we need a long-term resolution, even more so after yesterday’s devastating event.

“As more detail emerges around exactly what happened and what went wrong, we will push on with our plans to build even more resilience into our railway so that it can run more safely and reliably.”

Smoke billows from derailed train

Last month, Network Rail was warned about not keeping up with extreme weather events after an annual report noted a spike in landslips on Britain’s railways, demonstrating the “vulnerability” of the network.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson also visited the site on Thursday and met members of the emergency services.

Highlighting how some parts of Scotland experienced a month’s rainfall between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Mr Matheson told Sky News: “There is no doubt that climate change and these types of intense weather events are having an impact on the transport network, which was not designed to deal with these types of incidents”.

An ongoing investigation into the derailment is being directed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), who are working with a team of inspectors from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and Office of Road and Rail.

PM on ‘shocking’ train derailment

Anyone worried about friends or family involved in the derailment is being urged to call the NHS Grampian helpline number on 01224 319519 for advice and support.

ScotRail has warned its network remains severely disrupted due to recent weather and the incident at Stonehaven.