Passenger killed in Stonehaven train derailment named as 'adored' granddad
A passenger who died in the Aberdeenshire train derailment has been named as ‘adored’ care home volunteer Christopher Stuchbury.
The 62-year-old grandfather from Aberdeen was killed after a passenger train crashed in Stonehaven on Wednesday morning. A major incident was declared after the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail derailed and burst into flames following a night of torrential rain and flooding.
Train driver Brett McCullough, 45, and conductor Donald Dinnie, also died in the tragedy, while six others were taken to hospital. Christopher’s ‘devastated’ family said he volunteered at a care home in his free time and was a ‘loved friend to many’.
In a statement released by Police Scotland, the family said: ‘Chris was a much adored husband, son, dad, stepdad, granddad, brother and uncle and was a treasured and loved friend to many, including the Targe Towing Team where he was an integral and valued member of staff.
‘He also volunteered at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen during his spare time which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.
‘We are devastated by his death and we request privacy at this difficult time as we come to terms with our loss.’
It is believed a landslip on the track caused by extreme weather conditions caused the train to derail.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has now launched a formal investigation into the incident.
British Transport Police chief inspector Brian McAleese said they ‘will also be working closely with them along with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and Office of Road and Rail to establish the full circumstances of how this train came to derail’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today claimed it is ‘far too soon’ to say whether cutbacks to Network Rail contributed to the fatal crash.
Shapps and the Scottish Government’s Michael Matheson both visited the ‘horrendous’ site today to meet members of the emergency services who assisted in the crash.
When cost-cutting plans for the infrastructure operator were announced in 2017, the TSSA union’s general secretary Manuel Cortes warned it will ‘endanger passengers’ lives’.
Asked whether this latest tragedy had proven him correct, Mr Shapps said: ‘I think it’s far too soon to jump to conclusions about what’s happened here. My observation is that a flash flood seems to wreaked havoc at the scene behind us.
‘Rail, in general, has an enormous budget – £46 billion – over what’s called a controlled period.
‘It’s record sums of money, we’ve never spent more on our railways. But I don’t want to get into speculation, let’s find the facts.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday investigators would work to ‘make sure that nothing like this happens again’.
It comes after a report published four weeks before the tragedy warned Network Rail about the dangers of landslips and extreme weather conditions.
An annual health and safety report by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), found that the company’s proposals to address climate change and extreme weather are ‘not keeping up with the frequency and severity of these events’.
In its response, Network Rail said the railway was designed for a temperate climate and is ‘challenged’ by prolonged periods of high and low temperatures, storms and floods.
It said there was ‘no quick fix’ but had drawn up ‘comprehensive’ plans to address the issues raised.
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