Network Rail to Take Immediate Action After Stonehaven Derailment

Network Rail’s Chief Executive, Andrew Haines, has said the cause of the Stonehaven derailment must be understood. Further, immediate additional safety measures must be implemented.

Arriving at the scene, Andrew Haines expressed his condolences and said there was going to be a thorough investigation into the crash.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive, Network Rail, said:

“Questions are inevitably being asked as to how this could happen and I am determined that we understand the circumstances that led to this devastating event. It's too early to draw conclusions but it is critical that we investigate thoroughly and with care, and work closely with rail safety authorities, to make sure this can't happen again.”

He also thanked the work of the British Transport Police, ScotRail and his colleagues at Network Rail for their speedy and professional response.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Andrew Haines were given a helicopter tour of the site, after which they spoke with responders and investigators.

Speculation has arisen whether severe rainfall and flooding caused the derailment. The UK government has requested that Network Rail review its resilience to and management of extreme weather. Andrew Haines stressed that the cause was not yet known and he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation. He further said additional measures were being put in place.

These measures are:

  • the inspection, by in-house engineers and specialist contractors, of dozens of sites in Great Britain that have higher-risk trackside slopes
  • the mobilisation of Extreme Weather Action Teams, who already monitor the network
  • discussions with meteorologists to determine how real-time information regarding flash flooding can be improved in order to provide better information to train operators
  • a review of the existing programme of remote monitoring of high-risk sites to see if it can be expanded and accelerated
Andrew Haines:

“Our climate is changing and it is increasingly challenging the performance and reliability of the railway, but incidents like yesterday’s devastating accident are incredibly rare, and our railway remains the safest major railway in Europe.

“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.

“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.”

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