Network Rail launches two task forces after Stonehaven crash

Scene of the Stonehaven crash
Scene of the Stonehaven crash - (Copyright PA Wire)
17:06pm, Tue 25 Aug 2020
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Network Rail has launched two independent task forces in response to the Stonehaven crash.

Former Met Office chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo will lead a review into the impact of heavy rainfall on the railway.

This will consider how data can be used to ensure future engineering decisions take local weather factors into account, as well as Network Rail’s use of forecasting and weather monitoring technology.

With more and more extreme weather and tens of thousands of earthwork assets across Great Britain, our challenge is massive

It will also examine the extent to which the Government-owned rail infrastructure management company has explored real-time weather recording.

Meanwhile Lord Robert Mair, emeritus professor of civil engineering at the University of Cambridge, will spearhead an earthworks task force investigating the management of railway cuttings and embankments.

This will look at past incidents, latest technologies and best practice from across the globe.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train crashed into a landslide across the tracks near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, on August 12 following heavy rain.

Scene of the crash near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire - (Copyright PA Wire)

Six other people were injured.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “The Stonehaven tragedy resulted in three people losing their lives – this is a stark reminder that we must never take running a safe railway for granted.

“With more and more extreme weather and tens of thousands of earthwork assets across Great Britain, our challenge is massive.

“And while we are making record investment in these areas, we have asked world renowned experts, Dame Julia Slingo and Lord Mair, to help us address these issues as effectively as possible, and at pace.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The incident at Stonehaven was an absolute tragedy and we must make sure we learn every possible lesson to ensure it is never repeated.

“I welcome these task forces as a step towards understanding the issues involved and have also asked Network Rail for a wider assessment of the impact of poor weather on Britain’s network, with an interim report published in early September.”

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