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Network Rail boss visits Stonehaven train crash scene as investigation gets under way

Police at Carmont crossing
Police at Carmont crossing

The investigation into what caused the Stonehaven train derailment has begun – with Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines, visiting the site.

Emergency services remain at the scene of the incident in Carmont today as investigators look to identify what happened.

British Transport Police, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and inspectors from the Office of Rail and Road – the independent regulator – are involved in the investigation.

VIDEO: Three dead, including train driver and conductor, after derailment disaster near Stonehaven

Michael Matheson is in Stonehaven today meeting members of the emergency services teams to thank them for their efforts.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this, particularly to the families and friends of those who were killed in this incident yesterday. My thoughts are very much with them and I also hope those injured in the course of this incident are able to make a speedy recovery.

“It was a difficult site for the emergency services to access. It presented them with very significant challenges. There were also real difficulties with some of the stability of the train. I want to discuss with them some of the difficulties they faced.

“I want to thank them for their dedication and professionalism about how they went about dealing with this incident because their dedication and professionalism has been able to deal with the matter effectively in what was a very, very challenging environment.”

Grant Shapps.

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps has also arrived at the scene.

Speaking at the site of the Stonehaven crash, Grant Shapps said his heart goes out to the friends and family of the people involved.

He said: “One thing I can say having been here today and met people involved and seen the scene for myself is we absolutely must make sure we learn every possible lesson from a tragedy like this.”

In addition, the chief executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, is cutting short his family holiday in Italy to fly back to the UK.

Arriving at the scene of the crash in Carmont, Mr Haines said: “My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy, especially the friends and families of the three people who died and those that are injured.

“I want to express my thanks to my colleagues at Network Rail, the British Transport Police and all the emergency services who responded so quickly and professionally and continue to do so.

“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.”

Network Rail has reviewed CCTV footage from the stations at which the service stopped and it’s believed there were nine people, including crew, on the train.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “Following the incident at Stonehaven yesterday, the Lord Advocate has instructed a joint investigation by Police Scotland, British Transport Police and the Office of Rail and Road.

“The investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service.”This investigation is in parallel to the independent safety investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).”

Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton, confirmed that a joint investigation is underway, she said: “Officers from Police Scotland, British Transport Police and the Office of Rail and Road are working together closely as the investigation seeks to establish the full circumstances of what happened and will utilise the skills of all agencies.

“The investigation, which will be carried out under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, is in parallel to the independent safety investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

“The multi-agency response to the incident remains ongoing and we are working with partners to support the family and friends of those involved as well as the rail family and local community.

“I also want to thank the responders who attended yesterday and were faced with a challenging scene. Our thanks must also go to the local community who rallied around the emergency services with many offers of assistance and we are grateful for your support.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with those affected at this difficult time.”

MP Andrew Bowie met investigators at the scene before a multi-agency summit in town with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

He said: “I’d like to thank British Transport Police, Network Rail and many others for their time and expertise at this difficult moment.

“The strength of community spirit from the people of Stonehaven and the surrounding area has been a ray of light in the darkness.

“The sympathies of an entire country are with the families of those involved in this tragedy.

“I agree with the sentiments expressed by the Secretary of State and Michael Matheson – we need to give the joint investigation the room and time it needs.

“Lessons must be learned so there is no repeat of this disaster, here or elsewhere.”

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