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Train derailment blamed on ‘climate change’ – ‘Scotland’s transport sec. said the climate crisis is presenting increasing challenges for rail safety’

Scottish minister warns of ‘climate challenge’ after Stonehaven train crash
By Libby Brooks and Gwyn Topham

The climate crisis is presenting increasing challenges for rail safety, senior transport figures have warned, as family and friends paid tribute to three people who died in a derailment in Aberdeenshire following thunderstorms and torrential rain.

The train’s driver, Brett McCullough, and conductor, Donald Dinnie, died along with a passenger, Christopher Stuchbury, when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow service came off the tracks and slid down an embankment near Carmont, just west of Stonehaven, on Wednesday. A further six people were injured, two of whom remain in hospital, both in a stable condition.

Visiting the site of the accident on Thursday, the Scottish transport secretary, Michael Matheson, said it was reasonable to presume the weather had had an impact on events, adding he hoped investigating authorities would advise whether efforts to address the challenges posed by extreme weather events should be stepped up.

“[Network Rail] are well aware of our views about the need to make sure that we are taking forward the right types of mitigations that help to manage a challenge of these types of localised, intense weather events,” he said.

He also sought to reassure the public, adding: “These tragic events are very rare. It’s now some 13 years since someone was killed on the railway network in the UK because of an incident of this nature and safety standards over the last 20-30 years have increased significantly to make the railway network one of the safest in Europe.”


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