A Scotrail train which derailed and resulted in the deaths of three people had struck a landslip before coming off the rails, investigators have revealed.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch detailed the latest findings in their investigation into the crash near Carmont in Aberdeenshire on Wednesday.

It has been confirmed that nine people were on board the 6.38am ScotRail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street, including three train crew and six passengers.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, all lost their lives in the incident.

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The remaining passengers and train crew were taken to hospital, and NHS Grampian confirmed on Friday afternoon that two remain in hospital in a stable condition.

Investigators say the train was stopped by the signaller at Carmont after reports from the driver of a train on the northbound line that a landslip was obstructing the up-line between Carmont and Laurencekirk.

A decision was taken to return the train to Aberdeen after it became apparent it could not continue its journey south, and so it was routed back over a crossover at Carmont onto the down line.

HeraldScotland: Google Earth image showing key locations. Source: Rail Accident Investigation BranchGoogle Earth image showing key locations. Source: Rail Accident Investigation Branch

However, after travelling for around 1.4 miles, the train struck a landslip and derailed.

The report, published on the UK Government's website, details that, as the track curved to the right, the train continued in a straight line for around 100 yards before striking a section of bridge parapet, which was then destroyed.

The findings state: "The first passenger carriage came to rest on its roof, having rotated to be at right angles to the track.

"The second passenger carriage also overturned onto its roof and came to rest on the first carriage.

"The fourth passenger carriage remained upright and attached to the rear power car; it also came to rest on the first carriage.

"All wheelsets of the rear power car derailed, but it remained upright."

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Investigators are continuing to collect evidence into the cause of the accident and its consequences and will publish findings,m including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation.

The wife of train driver Mr McCullough issued a statement on behalf of the grieving family: "Brett was a much-loved husband, father, son and uncle who will be sorely missed by all.

"It is an extremely difficult time for us as a family and we would ask for privacy as we try to come to terms with our horrendous loss."

The family of Mr Dinnie, 58, called him "loving and proud".

Their statement read: "As a family we are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Donald, a loving and proud dad, son, partner, brother, uncle and friend.

"No words could ever describe how much he will be missed by us all and there will always be a missing piece in our hearts.

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"It is so heartwarming to see how many people have fond memories of Donald and I am sure they have plenty of happy and funny stories to tell. He was a kind, caring and genuine person who was never found without a smile on his face. We know he will be deeply missed by all.

"Together we thank each and every one of you for your kind words and condolences but we kindly ask at this time that we have the chance to grieve privately as a family."