The familiar thrum of activity at Aberdeen train station was broken for a minute this morning, as passengers and crews paid tribute to the three men killed in the Stonehaven rail crash a year ago today.
At 9.43am on August 12, 2020, a landslip resulting from an intense rainstorm caused a ScotRail train to leave the tracks at Carmont, just south of the Aberdeenshire town.
Driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury lost their lives in the disaster.
The crash shook the north-east community, and left a lasting mark on what an LNER manager described as “the railway family” around the country.
Today, to mark the first anniversary, representatives from ScotRail and LNER visited Aberdeen railway station for a brief ceremony.
Two wreaths from LNER were laid at platform 4, where the train left at 6.38am on August 12.
Not long afterwards, an announcement was played on the station’s speakers naming Mr McCullough, Mr Dinnie and Mr Stuchbury and informing passengers that a minute’s silence would be taking place.
Rail bosses wearing shirts and ties and engineers in bright orange boiler suits then fell quiet, in a scene that was replicated in stations around the country.
On tracks across Scotland, where safe to do so, trains stopped for a minute, with drivers given a script to read out asking their passengers to respect the silence and remember the three men who died last year.
Edinburgh Trams also announced their service would be pausing for a minute in solidarity with their “friends” at ScotRail.
Meanwhile, in Stonehaven, the families of those three men were holding a private ceremony with Railway Chaplain for North Scotland Dereck Grant, laying wreaths at a new memorial plaque.
Today we remember Brett McCullough, Donald Dinnie and Christopher Stuchbury, three lives devastatingly lost at Stonehaven a year ago. Our thoughts and condolences remain with their families and friends and everyone affected by the tragedy. pic.twitter.com/maTO8B242n
— ScotRail (@ScotRail) August 12, 2021
Gareth Fowler, a skills and competency manager at LNER, attended the Aberdeen ceremony and said the disaster affected everyone in the railway industry – no matter which company they worked for.
He said: “It’s a cliche in the railway, we always say we’re one big family, and we genuinely are.
“We look out for each other. It doesn’t matter what name is down the side of that train.
“I hope the families take that away with them – through this tragedy, they will be supported by the railway family and we’ll look after them through these difficult times.”
Alex Hynes, managing director at ScotRail, said: “Everyone at Scotland’s Railway will always be broken-hearted about the terrible accident at Stonehaven.
“Today, exactly a year on, we pay tribute to Brett, Donald and Christopher, who lost their lives, and also, of course, we remember those who were injured.
“We come together as Scotland’s Railway family and we send our love and support to everyone, particularly the loved ones of the deceased, who have been affected by the tragedy. We will never forget.”
With the co-operation of those closest to this tragedy, our Impact investigations team compiled a 14-part series, The 6:54 from Stonehaven, looking at the human impact of the crash, the circumstances that led to the incident, and hail those who responded so magnificently in the hours, days and weeks which followed.