Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, today responded to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB)’s final report on the Carmont tragedy by calling for ScotRail to take its High-Speed Trains (HSTs) out of service.
The tragedy occurred on Wednesday 12th August 2020 when the 06:38 train from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street hit a landslip and derailed causing the deaths of Brett McCullough, Donald Dinnie and Chris Stuchbury. The RAIB’s report shows that several failures in the HSTs contributed to the crash, and particularly to the death of the driver.
Cortes said, “The incident at Carmont was a tragedy, and my thoughts are with the families of the three men who died. The fact that it was a preventable tragedy makes it all the sadder.
“TSSA warned when the HSTs were bought that they were museum pieces not fit for purpose and the RAIB report shows that, tragically, this is the case. Their failings played a part in the tragedy, especially in the death of the driver. ScotRail should now seriously consider whether they need to remove all their HSTs from service.”
Serious failures in the oversight of work carried out by contractors, and subsequent checks and maintenance work were also identified by the RAIB report. The report also blames lack of staffing resources within Network Rail stating, “the railway has insufficient resource to entirely overcome the potential for infrastructure failure.” (p23, S50.c). TSSA is calling for a root and branch review of how Britain’s railways are maintained to prevent further tragedies.
Manuel Cortes said, “Better oversight of contractors, better maintenance and repair schedules, all could have prevented the Carmont tragedy. It is essential that we now carry out a root and branch review, involving Network Rail, the train operating companies, and the trade unions of how Britain’s railways are maintained. What is already clear is that the problem will be exacerbated if the government continues to press ahead with plans to force staff cuts on Network Rail. The last thing our railway needs is to lose the approximately five thousand jobs that Network Rail are looking to cut across our railways.”
“RAIB’s report agrees that the extreme weather the night before the incident at Carmont played a significant role in causing the accident. Sadly, global warming will continue to give us more such extreme weather events – as we saw just a few weeks ago with Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin. If we are to have any hope of reversing – or even just reducing that trend - it is clear that this government needs to call off their love affair with cars and get serious about getting people back onto the trains. They can start by cancelling the 3.8% increase to ticket prices!”