A trade union says the situation on Scotland’s railways is “becoming terrifying” after part of a bridge collapsed approximately one mile from the site of the Stonehaven train derailment.
Train services from Aberdeen were disrupted earlier today after the side wall of a bridge near Stonehaven gave way – close to the scene of the crash at Carmont last August, which left three men dead.
Unlike August’s tragedy, the most recent incident was not caused by a landslip.
Network Rail said the bridge was damaged “due to weather conditions”.
However, union leaders have called for action from rail bosses and government ministers – and warned of a growing number of instances of infrastructure failure.
Gordon Martin, the regional organiser of the RMT union, said he was “absolutely not surprised” by the incident and called for urgent talks with railway chiefs.
He added: “I have raised concerns with Network Rail about the number of incidents on the railway and infrastructure.
“I am absolutely not surprised this has happened and we will be seeking a meeting with Network Rail once the facts have been established.
“This latest incident is little more than a stone’s throw from where three people lost their lives and the amount of issues there have been with infrastructure is becoming terrifying.
“The rail network needs a bit of investment because it is a real worry just now.”
The train drivers’ union ASLEF urged government ministers to hand Network Rail more funding to ensure the safety of staff and passengers across the country.
A spokesman said: “ASLEF believes it is vital the government at Westminster properly funds Network Rail so it can properly look after and maintain all the railway lines and infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales.
“There are particular concerns over the impact of climate change on the rail network. The landslips near Stonehaven last year and this one are by no means the only ones which are happening on the railway.
“Although it is incumbent on Network Rail to maintain bridges and track, it is vital they are given the money to properly maintain the infrastructure – not just for the safety of passengers, but for the safety of train staff.”
In total around 24 metres of the side wall of the bridge has fallen away.
Specialist engineers are on site and will remain there in the coming days.
It is understood the line is likely to be closed for several days while repair work is carried out.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “The line is currently closed while our engineers repair a damaged side wall on a bridge between Carmont and Stonehaven.
“Specialist structural engineers are currently assessing the fault and putting plans in place for its repair.
“Our engineers will be working around-the-clock to complete this work as quickly as possible.”