Speaking to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there had been early reports of serious injuries and mentioned that the area had suffered from significant storms. The derailment is an “extremely serious incident,” Sturgeon tweeted.
Rail industry sources told the PA news agency that the suspected cause of the incident was a landslip. Andrew Bowie, the local Member of Parliament, said that Stonehaven had experienced flooding on Wednesday after “heavy rain.”
Network Rail Scotland posted a video earlier on Wednesday showing a landslip on the track at Carmont, believed to be close to the scene of the incident.
“Inverbervie station, the closest reporting weather station averages 57.6mm in August. They have recorded 55mm in 24 hours, so almost exactly a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours, with the bulk of it coming between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time this morning,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
The train had six cars, according to the UK’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch. “A team of RAIB inspectors are on their way to the site to conduct a preliminary examination,” it said in a tweet
According to the PA’s industry sources, there were 12 people on board the train — six passengers and six members of staff. They said that the train’s locomotive and three carriages were derailed and had slid down an embankment.
A national transport union has said it took around three hours from the time of the accident for it to be reported. “The accident took place in the Carmont area, south of Stonehaven and was ScotRail’s 06:38 Aberdeen — Glasgow Queen Street train. The derailment was reported at around 09:45am,” it said in a statement.
According to the rail timetable the service should have arrived at Stonehaven at 6:53 a.m.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We were alerted at 9.47am on Wednesday August 12 to reports of an incident involving a train near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.”
“Officers were called to the scene at 9.43am and remain there alongside paramedics and the fire brigade,” BTP wrote.
A spokesperson for the hospital dealing with casualties has said it is on “major incident footing.”
Footage from the scene showed multiple ambulances, an air ambulance, and a number of police cars at the site, as smoke billowed from the incident in the background.
Railway maintenance authority NetworkRail Scotland said it was working with emergency services.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he has had an urgent meeting with Network Rail about the incident.