A heroic railway worker who walked three miles while injured to raise the alarm after the horrific train crash “should be given an OBE”.
Nicola Whyte, from Huntly in Aberdeenshire, works as a conductor but was off duty at the time she was travelling on the 6.38am service when it derailed on Wednesday.
As news emerged of Ms Whyte’s response to the incident, people took to social media to thank the “hero”.
Nicola Whyte a off-duty conductor raised the alarm about 1T08's derailment by walking 3 miles to the nearest signal box while being injured from the crash. Not all heroes wear capes! I wish her a speedy recovery!
— David Philson (@muchtydave) August 14, 2020
And Huntly councillor Gwyneth Petrie said she was “truly proud” of the conductor, who is a friend and former schoolmate.
Mrs Petrie said: “Being on that train must have been horrific – it’s unimaginable – and yet Nicola overcame that, and her injuries, to ensure she could make that call for help.
“She is a hero – her actions on that day saved others, and her bravery is to be commended. I am truly proud to call her a friend, and I hope that she is recovering well.”
The 31-year-old’s proud family also paid tribute to her on social media with her sister, Gemma, writing: “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.”
David Philson, a ScotRail worker in Perth, added on Twitter that “not all heroes wear capes” and praised his colleague’s quick action.
Mandy Goldie wrote on Facebook: “Can’t imagine what you and others went through. Absolute respect, you’re a true hero.”
Stuart Ned Kelly added: “A complete hero and deserves an MBE, OBE or something like that.”
On Thursday, David Simpson, operations director for ScotRail, paid tribute to Ms Whyte in a radio interview.
He said: “The staff member who raised the alarm was travelling on the train, and was able to get to an adjacent signal box to raise the alarm after the incident.
“I would pay tribute to the actions of that member of staff, following what must have been an extremely bad experience being involved in the actual incident.”
The derailment was a tragic accident which cast a pall over the whole north-east.
Local families have lost loved ones and communities will be in mourning for weeks.
Amongst all that loss, this act of heroism has been a source of some hope.
Leaving the wreckage to go for help was a feat of extraordinary heroism and it has doubtless saved lives.
Ms Whyte is a credit to Huntly and should rightly be congratulated for her efforts.