Network Rail, the UK’s rail network manager, will face court proceedings next month at the Aberdeen High Court in Scotland over the fatal derailment incident at Carmont, near Stonehaven, in 2020, which killed three people. 

The charges faced by the national body have not been revealed.

The incident in question occurred on 12 August 2020 when a train running the early morning Aberdeen to Glasgow service derailed after hitting landslide debris at Carmont, injuring six people and killing the driver, McCullough, conductor, Dinnie and a passenger, Stuchbury. The incident occurred after heavy rainfall, which led to a line blockage toward Glasgow, which the ScotRail 06:38 Aberdeen to Glasgow service was avoiding at the time of the derailment.

The public court roll published by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service revealed that the body will face criminal action on 7 September under a Section 76 indictment, implying that the organisation may be entering a guilty plea. 

A Network Rail spokesperson said that the organisation has been working hard to make the railway network safer for passengers and staff since the incident: “The Carmont derailment and the tragic loss of Christopher Stuchbury, Donald Dinnie and Brett McCullough was a terrible day for our railway and our thoughts remain with their families and all those affected by the accident. 

“While we cannot comment on the ongoing legal process, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report into Carmont made clear that there were fundamental lessons to be learned by Network Rail and we have supported the investigation process.” 

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As a result of the accident, the RAIB made 20 recommendations for the improvement of railway safety including the implementation of additional standards and guidance on the safe design of drainage systems and better management of civil engineering construction activities by Network Rail and its contractors. 

Network Rail said they were committed to delivering on the RAIB’s recommendations and had made significant changes: “We have invested millions towards improving the resilience of our railway and are rolling out new technology to help us better respond to extreme weather events. 

“We have also changed how we manage the running of train services during periods when severe weather warnings are in place and have introduced a new team of weather experts to our control room to provide around-the-clock, real-time analysis on how the weather may affect Scotland’s Railway.”