Carmont rail crash report shows systemic failures

2022-09-10 -
Scotrail train

The final report into the fatal train derailment in August 2020 has been released today.

In the report the RAIB exonerated the driver and blamed ScotRail and Network Rail for systemic failures.

Three people lost their lives in the crash at Carmont, near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, so this verdict is serious and damning.



ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan has called for change. He said "This report is damning and makes for difficult reading, not least for the families of those who died and were injured. The failures identified in this report are so bad that we believe this must be a watershed moment in the way we ensure the safety of passengers and staff on our railway network."


Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF's organiser in Scotland, also spoke following the launch of the report, saying: "In the light of this damning report, we have made a number of recommendations and demands.

"Never again should our drivers be working on trains where the crashworthiness is not fit for purpose and on track and infrastructure not designed to withstand the consequences of climate change and where repeated warnings about those effects have not been acted upon. Action must be taken urgently; if not then we run the risk that this tragedy will happen again and again.


"Network Rail and Abellio ScotRail failed the staff and the passengers who were on the train that crashed at Carmont and they must be held to account. This should start with Alex Hynes; given his involvement in both Network Rail and Abellio ScotRail, his position is untenable, and he must resign with immediate effect.

"Network Rail and Abellio ScotRail must also be pursued in the courts. Carmont represents endemic corporate failure and, for justice to prevail corporate homicide/manslaughter laws should be used to pursue Network Rail and Abellio ScotRail. We implore the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service to act and ensure that their litany of failure is heard in court."


ASLEF is calling for several urgent changes in order to improve safety on the railway:

  • The ORR must begin the immediate process of withdrawal of HSTs from service across the entire rail network by 12 August 2023.
  • The ORR should conduct an immediate industry review of crashworthiness standards of all rolling stock in service today and insists that classes of train or locomotive that do not meet minimum standards of crashworthiness be modified or be given a timescale for withdrawal.
  • The ORR must ensure that, going forward, there are regular reviews of the crashworthiness of legacy rolling stock to take into account the ‘state of the art’ at the time of the review, and the introduction of any new cab equipment.
  • The RSSB needs to initiate research on the design, specification, and effectiveness of lifeguards with a view to specifying a new standard that would prevent the derailment of trains in scenarios such as the one at Carmont.
  • In line with the RAIB report the RSSB must review its previous research on the fitting of secondary impact protection devices for train drivers (including seatbelts) and, in the light of the circumstances of Carmont, train accident risk (including derailment) and the capabilities of current technology.
  • In consultation with relevant stakeholders, the RSSB must evaluate the case for fitting specific secondary impact protection devices into new and existing trains; and, where justified, incorporate requirements for improved protection measures into standards for train driving cabs.
  • A public inquiry must be conducted into the events at Carmont and the awarding of the franchise to Abellio with regards bringing HSTs to Scotland.