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Work starts to clear wreckage from Carmont derailment

WORK to clear the line and restore train services through the site of the fatal derailment at Carmont near Stonehaven in north-east Scotland last month is beginning this week.

Network Rail said a 600-tonne crawler crane is being used to remove the derailed vehicles, but this could only be done after a ‘massive amount of work’. Network Rail and its contractors have built a 900-metre road and temporary bridges over farmland so that the crane could be brought to the site.

The job of removing the wrecked HST, in which driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury lost their lives on 12 August after the train had collided with a landslip, is being described as ‘delicate’.

Scotland’s Railway managing director Alex Hynes said: ‘August 12 was a devastating day with the loss of Brett, Donald and Christopher in this tragic accident.

‘While we will now begin the process of recovering the carriages and repairing the railway, we do so with a heavy heart.

‘We will continue to work closely with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch throughout this recovery process so we can learn from this terrible event and help prevent similar accidents.’

For the time being trains are running between Aberdeen and Stonehaven, calling at Portlethen. Replacement buses are being provided between Stonehaven and Dundee, and also between Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile hundreds of higher-risk trackside slopes have been inspected, while Network Rail has also launched two taskforces, led by independent experts, as part of its long-term response to climate change and the challenge of maintaining thousands of embankments and cuttings, many of which date from the Victorian era.

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