The UK’s Network Rail is set to remove train carriages from the Stonehaven accident site as part of its efforts to resume operations on the line.

A new 900m road and temporary bridges were developed around the farmland to move specialist lifting equipment to the site.

The engineers will use a 600t crawler crane to lift the derailed carriages. The removal is expected to take several days to complete.

A ScotRail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street derailed near Stonehaven last month. The incident killed three people and injured several others.

Scotland’s Railway managing director Alex Hynes said: “While we will now begin the process of recovering the carriages and repairing the railway, we do so with a heavy heart.

“We will continue to work closely with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch throughout this recovery process so we can learn from this terrible event and help prevent similar accidents.”

Once the derailed carriages are removed from the site, engineers will carry out inspections to determine the extent of damage on railway infrastructure.

No exact timeframe was given on the resumption of services, but the reopening is estimated to take a number of weeks.

Following the incident, Network Rail launched two independent task forces to develop a better understanding of severe weather events and improve earthworks management.

Dame Julia Slingo, meteorologist and former chief scientist at the UK Met Office, is leading the weather action task force, while Lord Robert Mair, the former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, will spearhead the Earthworks management task force.