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CrossCountry derailment: Main line closed, probe launched

CrossCountry trainOn Sunday, a CrossCountry train derailed between Edinburgh and Aberdeen as it travelled through Tayside, causing train services to be suspended between Dundee and Aberdeen.  Trains were still being disrupted yesterday, while the Office of Rail Regulation and Rail Accident Investigation Branch were notified and an investigation launched.  Travellers were being advised to check the National Rail Enquiries website for the status of train services before heading to the station.

John Brennan, a 47-year-old who lives beside the rail line at Inverkeilor, ran to the derailed train to see if he could help the passengers, climbing through a fence to get to the scene.  He says he was having a cup of tea outside just before starting his gardening when he heard a loud noise.  He told his wife that it sounded like an engine blew out, and when he saw that the train had come to a halt, he knew something was up.

Brennan saw that the front of the train derailed and climbed through a fence to reach where the train driver should have been.  When the driver wasn’t there, he walked along the train until he saw some passengers.  Using sign language, he asked if there were any casualties, to which they responded with the thumbs up.  He thinks the CrossCountry driver deserves a lot of credit, as the derailment could have been much worse.

When emergency crews were notified of the train derailment, police, ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene.  Police ensured the 36 passengers were okay, and firefighters were helping them get off the train through the rear at around 11:40am.  Word spread fast in the Angus village, and its hall was opened so residents could pass out hot drinks and biscuits to the passengers.  None of the passengers were injured in the incident, but the train driver suffered a bang on the head and required medical attention.  The passengers paid him tribute for his fast action in keeping the train upright and bringing it to a quick halt.

A spokesperson for British Transport Police said that the front of the carriage derailed from the tracks.  The train stayed upright and none of the 36 passengers were reported injured, while the driver sustained a minor bump on the head.  Officers were working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident, which are still unclear.  After the passengers were evacuated, they were taken to nearby transport hubs by bus so they could continue their journeys.

Angus Health Care chaplain and Inverkeilor resident Rona Phillips helped to coordinate the community response.  She says she knew something big was happening when she saw the police responding to the incident.  They opened the hall and made teas and coffee available.  The community is very caring, as that’s what village life is about.  She went to listen to the passengers and what they went through.  They praised the driver and were very positive about the police response.

First ScotRail deployed alternative transport for passengers travelling to Edinburgh and Glasgow from Aberdeen on Sunday, and the same arrangements were deployed on Monday.  The company said the disruptions were expected to continue until nearly midnight, and travellers were urged to allow more time for their journeys.

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