Investigation into fatal train derailment begins

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Media captionAerial footage: passenger train derailment in Aberdeenshire

An investigation has begun into an Aberdeenshire rail crash in which three people died.

The train driver, a conductor and a passenger were killed when the the 06:38 ScotRail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street derailed near Stonehaven on Wednesday morning.

It is thought to have hit a landslide after heavy rain and thunderstorms caused disruption across Scotland.

Six other people were also injured in the incident.

They were taken to hospital but their injuries were not believed to be serious.

Expert investigators are now working to identify the cause of the crash.

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.

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps plans to travel to the scene of the incident later.

He said he wanted to “try to understand the situation first hand and offer every possible assistance”.

Michael Matheson, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for transport, will also meet members of the emergency services at the site.

And the chief executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, is expected to travel to Stonehaven after cutting short a family holiday in Italy.

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Photographs from the scene showed damaged carriages lying across the track

The Queen was among those who sent their condolences to those affected by the derailment.

In a post on the Royal Family’s Twitter feed, she said she learned of the incident with “great sadness”.

“The Duke of Edinburgh, and the entire Royal Family, join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who have died and those who have been injured,” she added.

“Our thanks go out to the emergency services for their response and dedication.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also sent her “deepest condolences” to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

The sentiment was echoed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He added: “Clearly the most important thing now is that the British Transport Police, who are in charge of the investigation, find out exactly what happened and we all work together to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Alex Hynes, the managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said it was a “sad, sad day”.

The train which derailed was made up of two locomotives – at the front and back – and four carriages.

A review of CCTV at stations at which the service stopped suggested there were nine people on the train, including crew.

Ch Supt Eddie Wylie, of British Transport Police, said he believed all passengers had been accounted for.

He added: “Once the area has been made safe then a full and thorough search will be conducted, which is likely to take some time.

“I know many people will understandably have questions and we will be working closely alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail and Road to establish the full circumstances of how the train came to derail.”

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for the Aslef train drivers union, said: “Our thoughts tonight are with all those who died, and who were injured, in the tragic accident.

“While it is too early to speculate about the causes of the crash, it would seem that the appalling weather conditions in the area – the torrential rain – resulted in a landslip which, in turn, caused the train to derail.”

He added that the train had caught fire after rolling down a steep embankment.

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