The boss of Scotrail has hailed the brave off-duty conductor who walked three miles from the derailed Stonehaven train to raise the alarm as a “credit” to the north-east.
Nicola Whyte, from Huntly, was onboard the ScotRail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow when it derailed in a remote area near Stonehaven, killing train driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.
Despite suffering injuries herself, Nicola escaped the wreckage and walked several miles along the track to reach the nearest signal box and raised the alarm.
And while Nicola doesn’t see herself as a hero, the Evening Express Aberdeen’s Champion Awards judges wanted to recognise her bravery by awarding her a special recognition accolade.
Evening Express editor Craig Walker said: “The Stonehaven train derailment shocked everyone in the north-east but Nicola’s actions that day showed real heroism.
“I’m so pleased we could honour what she did at the Aberdeen’s Champion awards.”
Alex Hynes, managing director at Scotrail, also expressed his thanks to Nicola.
He said: “Everyone at Scotland’s Railway continues to mourn the death of Brett, Donald and Christopher who tragically lost their lives on August 12 during the tragic accident at Carmont.
“Our hearts remain broken and will do for a very long time.
“But in these most distressing circumstances, there is some cause for some hope and that’s because of the actions of a very special person – our conductor Nicola Whyte.
“Nicola went way above the call of duty when it was needed most and helped raise the alarm for those who needed the attention of the emergency services.
“She is a huge credit to her family, to the city of Aberdeen and to ScotRail, and from the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank Nicola for everything that she has done.
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions since August 12 and I’m proud to call her a colleague and a friend.”
The day after the tragedy, Nicola’s sister Gemma wrote on Facebook: “My heart goes out to all crew and passengers involved in the major incident. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for all involved and it’s such a difficult time for us all!
“I am however a very proud sister of Nicola for walking three miles with injuries to get help for everyone.
“Forever grateful that you’re okay!”
In another message on behalf of Nicola, she wrote: “She would like to thank everyone who has wished her well and a speedy recovery after yesterday’s incident.”