A drainage system wrongly constructed by Carillion and unchecked by Network Rail led to the Stonehaven prepare crash, investigators have discovered, when a Scotrail prepare hit particles washed by rain on to the railway observe.
Three individuals died on 12 August 2020 within the worst deadly occasion on the UK railways in 18 years, when the passenger prepare from Aberdeen to Glasgow derailed at Carmont, close to Stonehaven, after heavy rainfall.
Inspectors stated the drainage system and earthworks, put in in 2011-12 by the contractor Carillion to stabilise the slope above the observe, “had not been constructed in accordance with the original design and so were not able to safely accommodate the water flows” when virtually a month’s rainfall, 51.5mm, fell in three hours.
The modifications made by Carillion, which went bust in 2018, weren’t famous by Network Rail, which didn’t examine the higher components of the drainage system after a handover in 2013.
The Rail Accident Investigation Department’s closing report on the catastrophe additionally discovered that route controllers had “not been given the information, procedures or training needed” to successfully handle the scenario, and that Network Rail had not absolutely applied danger measures developed after earlier occasions involving excessive climate.
Regardless of a close-by landslip the identical morning, and floods from the acute rainfall, no velocity restrictions had been imposed and the prepare was travelling at 73mph when it hit the gravel washed from the drainage trench and got here off the tracks, putting a bridge parapet. One of many 4 carriages overturned and one other fell down a steep embankment and caught hearth.
The RAIB stated the end result would most likely have been much less extreme for a extra fashionable prepare with higher “crashworthiness” than the Seventies-built HST mannequin concerned.
The prepare drivers’ union Aslef referred to as for strikes to start out instantly to take the HST prepare sort out of service.
The three individuals who died included two prepare workers: the motive force, Brett McCullough, and the conductor, Donald Dinnie. One passenger, Christopher Stuchbury, died, and the opposite six individuals on the prepare had been injured. The report stated many extra casualties may have arisen however for the low numbers travelling in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The RAIB’s chief inspector, Simon French, stated the tragedy highlighted “the risk of uncontrolled changes to railway infrastructure during construction” and was “a reminder how potentially dangerous Britain’s volatile weather can be”.
French stated the railway ought to “get even smarter about the way it counters this threat” and “urgent[ly] provide real-time decision-makers with the information, procedures and training they need”.
He stated shutting down the railway throughout dangerous climate would drive potential passengers on to roads, which had been “undoubtedly much more dangerous”. However the accident shouldn’t be dismissed as a one-off occasion, he added, and the trade “needs to think through the implications of severe weather on its infrastructure”.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief govt, stated the report confirmed there have been “fundamental lessons to be learned by Network Rail and the wider industry”.
“As well as expressing our deep sorrow and regret … we acknowledge it should not have taken this tragic accident to highlight those lessons,” Haines stated. “We must do better.”
He stated they’d invested tens of tens of millions of kilos in enhancing rail’s resilience to climate, together with inspecting comparable places and drainage methods throughout the nation.
Mick Whelan, the final secretary of Aslef, the prepare drivers’ union, stated: “The failures identified in this report are so bad that we believe this must be a watershed moment in the way we ensure the safety of passengers and staff on our railway network.”
ScotRail’s chief working officer, Ian McConnell, stated the report made for “very sober reading”, including that whereas many of the RAIB’s suggestions associated to different events, “ScotRail will play its part fully in ensuring that safety lessons are learned … to do everything possible to reduce the risk of something like this ever happening again.”
Solicitors performing for kin of a sufferer and for injured passengers stated the report confirmed “a catalogue of failures within Network Rail”. Neil Davidson, a companion at regulation agency Digby Brown, stated: “The RAIB investigation clearly shows rail management had prior knowledge of several known risks – they were told to improve, yet still failed to act. This is the very definition of negligence.”
The rail regulator, ORR, is conducting a separate investigation into the crash, with Police Scotland and the British Transport Police. It expects handy over a closing report back to Scotland’s public prosecutor, the Crown Workplace and Procurator Fiscal Service, within the coming months.