Investigators probe deadly Scottish train crash

EDINBURGH (AFP) – Investigators were seeking answers over why a train derailed in northeast Scotland, killing the driver, conductor and a passenger.

The 6.38am passenger service from Aberdeen to Glasgow came off the tracks on Wednesday morning near the town of Stonehaven, which had been hit by flooding following heavy rain. Six people were hospitalised with minor injuries and police said the train had fortunately not been busy, with media reports saying just 12 people were on board.

Aberdeen is subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions than the rest of Scotland due to a localised outbreak of COVID-19, with people advised not to travel to the city. A landslip had been reported close to where the train derailed at 9.43am, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to suggest the weather might have played a part.

“It’s probably a very good idea to look at the effect of substantial rainfall on all our vulnerable infrastructure everywhere,” he told Sky News. “And as I understand there was about a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short period which undoubtedly aggravated the problem there.”

However, he said it was up to investigators to determine what caused Britain’s first major derailment for 13 years and vowed to “make sure nothing like this happens again”.

Queen Elizabeth II, who is staying in her Scottish home of Balmoral around 50 miles away from Stonehaven, sent her condolences.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he would meet members of the emergency services in Stonehaven, saying they had faced “significant challenges” at the site.

Emergency services personnel at the scene of a train crash near Stonehaven in northeast Scotland. PHOTO: AFP