AN INTERIM report into the tragedy at Stonehaven which killed three people has been published this morning.

The probe carried out by Network Rail found that the train hit a pile of washed-out gravel and rocks before it derailed.

It has also recommended that more technology be used in future to help predict the dangers and likeilhood of landslips on the network. 

The document “assesses the current controls and management of thousands of miles of earthworks – the sloped ground beside railway tracks – and sets out how the industry plans to reduce the risk of landslips on the network in the future”, the department added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We owe it to those who lost their lives, were injured, and were affected by this incident, to learn and act on every possible lesson to ensure this is never repeated.

“The independent investigation will enable us to understand exactly what went wrong, and make sure it does not happen again.

“We cannot delay learning the lessons. That is why I immediately commissioned this report and am making the interim findings available. I welcome the work setting out the challenges in adapting our rail infrastructure to cope with increasing extreme weather events caused by climate change. The task is now to overcome those challenges.

“We will use the findings of this interim report to improve, shape and accelerate our work to build a more robust and resilient rail network, so that our railway continues to be one of the safest in the world.”

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack said "My thoughts are with the family and friends of Brett McCullough, Donald Dinnie, Christopher Stuchbury, those who were injured and with the local community in Aberdeenshire.

 “The Stonehaven rail derailment was a tragedy felt right across Scotland and the UK and we need to understand what went wrong and make sure this doesn’t happen again. I welcome the immediate commissioning of this report and publication of the interim findings today. This is an important first step while we await for the results of the full investigation.

“I am pleased to see action is already being taken to improve the resilience of our railways to extreme weather.”