Stonehaven rail crash victims secure almost £1m in damages

Almost £1 million in damages has been secured from Network Rail for seven people affected by a rail crash which claimed three lives, lawyers have said.

Train driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died in the derailment near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, on August 12 2020.

Law firm Digby Brown acted for two people who lost loved ones and five passengers.

It comes following a separate criminal prosecution which saw Network Rail last month fined £6.7 million after it admitted health and safety failings over the rail crash, which happened on a day of torrential rainfall.

Train derailed at Stonehaven
Investigators at the scene of the crash (Jane Barlow/PA)

A spokesman for the law firm said: “I can confirm our civil actions against Network Rail have all successfully settled.

“Specifics cannot be discussed – however, the total sum recovered was nearly £1 million with all damages rightly reflecting the injuries, trauma and losses each person suffered, and will continue to suffer for the rest of their lives.

“No amount of compensation will ever heal the wounds of the horrendous and avoidable tragedy at Carmont but it can at least provide recognition to those affected and the means to look to the future in the most life-affirming way possible.”

Train derailed at Stonehaven
A carriage is transported away from the site of the rail crash (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “To the families of those who lost their lives we would say again how deeply sorry we are that this tragedy was able to happen.

“And to those survivors who were injured, we are very sorry for the pain and distress caused.

“We’ve been working closely with victims and relatives since the tragic derailment at Carmont, which has included efforts to address compensation claims.”

At the High Court in Aberdeen last month, Network Rail admitted a series of failings that resulted in the deaths, pleading guilty to a charge covering the period from May 1 2011 to August 12 2020.

This included failing to inform the driver that it was unsafe to drive the train at a speed of 75mph, or caution him to reduce his speed amid bad weather on the day of the derailment, which also left six people injured.

A Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report published last March found errors in the construction of a drainage system installed by Carillion meant it was unable to cope with heavy rain which fell in the area on the morning of the crash.

Carillion went into compulsory liquidation in January 2018.

The RAIB report made 20 recommendations to improve railway safety, many of which were directed at Network Rail.

Network Rail previously said it is determined to build upon the “significant changes” it has made since the incident, which have “helped us to manage the risk of severe weather to the network”, and it has invested millions to improve the resilience of the railway.

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