Railway staff will solemnly gather at stations across the UK for a minute silence to remember those lost in the Aberdeenshire derailment.
Train staff, office personnel and station workers will fall silent at 9.43am tomorrow to remember driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury following their death in the disaster last week.
Dedicated chaplains have also promised to “share the grief” and work to provide pastoral care in the coming weeks for those affected.
Liam Johnston is the executive director of Railway Mission – a charity that works with the British Transport Police (BTP) to support the men and women on Scotland’s railway.
As news of the crash reached the Warwickshire-headquartered organisation last Wednesday, Mr Johnston quickly deployed Scotland-based chaplain Graham Whitehead to the scene.
Mr Johnston followed himself not long after.
There, they provided support and assurance to those in shock and disbelief over the horrific crash.
Mr Johnston has previously attended the Ufton Nervet collision between a train and car on a level crossing in Berkshire in 2004 – in which seven people, including the drivers of the train and the car, were killed.
The following year, he was on hand to support those affected by the terrorist attacks in London.
He said: “It was around 11am last Wednesday that I was notified there had been an incident.
“At that point it wasn’t clear the extent of what had happened. We knew there had been a major derailment and the likelihood was there would be injures.
“The pair of us were there together for some time, then I was there alone for a couple days, and Graham will head back this week.
“The focus of our chaplaincy team is about caring for all those who are affected by this in the industry.
“Whether it be the depot staff or the station staff, many have have lost somebody they’ve worked with and cared about – whether that was the driver or the guard.
“And this support is across Scotland and beyond. The railway is a family – it’s a very unique industry.
On Wednesday at 09:43 the railway family will hold a one minute silence to reflect and remember the three who sadly lost their lives at the tragic incident near Stonehaven and Carmont. #RailwayFamily pic.twitter.com/3n0cgVXRWD
— Liam Johnston (@railwaychaplain) August 16, 2020
“Even down south in England, there will be people upset about this news and chaplains across the UK will be talking to people and supporting them during this time.”
The chaplain’s work is slightly more difficult at the moment with social distancing in place. Usually, frequent visits to offices and staff rooms would be the norm.
And tomorrow, when train stations come together for a minute of silence in respect of the Stonehaven train crash victims, chaplains will be standing alongside railway staff.
Mr Johnston said: “We will be standing alongside people and sharing their grief as best they can. We’re here with you, we support you.
“The industry is connected like that.
“People don’t say ‘I work for Scotrail’ or ‘I work for Network Rail’. They say ‘I work for the railway’ and they say it with pride.
“There’s no rivalry between companies – everyone supports each other and works together to get passengers to their destinations.
“Sadly on Wednesday – that tragically was not the case.”
The Railway Mission was founded in 1881 and based in mission halls that would be scattered across railway stations throughout the country.
Around 20 chaplains now travel the length and breadth of the UK to provide pastoral carer.
To find out more or support them, people can visit railwaymission.org