The train in Wednesday’s fatal crash derailed after hitting a landslip, an investigation has found.
The driver and conductor of the ScotRail train, and one passenger, died in the crash near Stonehaven on Wednesday morning.
Initial findings from the Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) said nine people were on board the train at the time.
The train was returning to Aberdeen after it became clear it could not reach Glasgow due to another landslip further down the line.
After travelling around 1.4 miles, it hit a landslip covering the track before derailing.
As the track curved to the right, the train continued in “a roughly straight line” for approximately 100 yards, until it struck a section of bridge parapet.
The leading power car continued over the bridge, the investigation found, and then fell down a wooded embankment, as did the third passenger carriage.
The first passenger carriage ended up on its roof, as did the second which came to rest on the first.
The fourth passenger carriage remained upright and attached to the rear power car. It also came to rest on the first carriage.
All the wheels on the rear power car derailed but it remained upright, the RAIB said.
The victims of the derailment were named on Thursday. They were driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.
The RAIB is currently collecting evidence needed to identify factors in the cause of the crash.
The scope of the investigation will include:
- sequence of events and actions of those involved
- operating procedures applied
- management of earthworks and drainage in the area
- general management of earthworks and drainage and associated procedures designed to manage the risk of extreme weather events
- behaviour of the train during and following derailment
- consequences of the derailment and review of damage caused to the rolling stock
- underlying management factors
- actions taken in response to previous safety recommendations
The RAIB will publish findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of the investigation.