Resilience of rail infrastructure
Update report to the Secretary of State for Transport following the derailment at Carmont, near Stonehaven
It has been seven months since a passenger train derailed at Carmont, near Stonehaven and three people tragically lost their lives. Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of Brett McCullough, Donald Dinnie and Christopher Stuchbury, and everyone affected by the awful events of 12 August last year. We owe it to them all to learn lessons.
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. Our railway remains one of the safest in Europe and accidents are thankfully incredibly rare, however it is clear that we are facing a substantial challenge in managing rail infrastructure in the face of extreme weather.
We 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 – one on earthworks and one on weather – is crucial to guiding us and helping us target available resources and technology as we take this action to the next stage. 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 our 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.