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March 19, 2021

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Railway safety

Report published following Carmont train derailment

A report has been published into the fatal accident that occurred near Carmont on the national rail network in Scotland on 12 August 2020.

Carmont train derailmentAll six vehicles of a passenger train derailed after striking a landslip just over a mile north-east of Carmont in Aberdeenshire. There were nine people on the train at the time of the accident; three train crew (the driver, conductor and a second conductor travelling as a passenger) and six passengers.

The driver of the train, the train’s conductor and one passenger suffered fatal injuries as a result of the incident. The remaining passengers and member of train crew were taken to hospital.

Although formal investigations into the derailment continue, interim findings suggest that the train collided with stone washed out from the land above the tracks, and that heavy rainfall that morning played a significant role in the washout.

Network Rail say that they are working hard to address and manage the effects of climate change but there is more we can do. The commissioning of two independent, expert taskforces, it says, – one on earthworks and one on weather – is crucial to help target available resources and technology the next stage begins. There are more than 50 recommendations to consider from the taskforces and these are being analysed now, with some already implemented.

The Secretary of State requested an assessment of the impact of extreme weather on the resilience and safe performance of the rail network and an initial report was provided in September last year. An update is now available, which includes the reports and recommendations from independent taskforces led by renowned experts Lord Robert Mair and Dame Julia Slingo.

The following reports are available:

  • Resilience of Rail Infrastructure Update Report
  • Earthworks Management Taskforce Report
  • Weather Advisory Taskforce Report.

They are available here.

Following the incident, the RAIB said that scope of the investigation is likely to include:

  • The sequence of events and the actions of those involved;
  • The operating procedures applied;
  • The management of earthworks and drainage in this area, including recent inspections and risk assessments;
  • The general management of earthworks and drainage and associated procedures designed to manage the risk of extreme weather events;
  • The behaviour of the train during, and following the derailment;
  • The consequences of the derailment and a review of the damage caused to the rolling stock
  • Underlying management factors;
  • Actions taken in response to previous safety recommendations.

The findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, will be published at the conclusion of the investigation.

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