A relative of one of the Stonehaven derailment victims has commissioned her own report into the tragedy.
Three people were killed and six others injured when the 06:38 service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street left the tracks at Carmont, near Stonehaven, on August 12.
Early investigations have suggested heavy rainfall overnight – amounting to around three-quarters of the area’s average monthly total – played a “significant” role.
It is thought this caused the landslip which the train collided with, causing several carriages to leave the tracks and fall down an embankment.
Two separate probes into the incident are currently underway.
One is being conducted by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB), which aims to publish its findings this summer.
The second is directed by the Crown Office And Procurator Fiscal Service, working with the Office Of Rail And Road, Police Scotland and British Transport Police.
Earlier this week Network Rail released a report detailing 50 recommendations to strengthen the rail network’s resilience during periods of extreme weather.
Independent report commissioned
In the days following the crash, the sister of train driver Brett McCullough said she “knew in her heart” operator ScotRail was to blame for his death, rather than the landslide.
Salina McCullough, who lives in the USA, said she would continue fighting “as long as she has breath in her body” for someone to be held accountable for the tragedy.
And she has now revealed she commissioned an outside investigator to look into the matters and come to their own conclusions.
The probe is expected to be completed in the coming days.
It is understood the report author was a witness to the incident and has a background in health and safety.
Ms McCullough told The Evening Express: “With regards to recent documents issued by Network Rail, I am mindful of the work currently being concluded by a witness to the tragic derailment, who is also a professional incident investigator.
“This person is currently finalising on my behalf an independent report.”
Claim red flags were ‘ignored’
In the months since the derailment, Ms McCullough has been carrying out her own research into rail safety.
She said “red flags” from derailments caused by landslips in 2012 and 2013 had gone “ignored”.
These included three incidents on the West Highland Line near Loch Treig, as well as others near Edinburgh and in England.
At the time RAIB determined they had been caused by heavy rain, or poor drainage, and recommended the use of new processes to better monitor rainfall.
In December, Ms McCullough said: “Plans for changes in safety protocol were recommended eight years ago and were ignored – that is where the fault lies.”
She said concerns regarding climate change at Stonehaven “can’t possibly be a valid excuse for what happened since they clearly saw red flags waving frantically at them eight years ago after the aforementioned landslides.”
But Network Rail said the Loch Treig report was now out-of-date and “not really reflective” of current operating standards.
In recent years it has invested more than £120m into the Scottish network, with plans for a further £149m by 2024.
The organisation said technology has also “increased significantly” with CCTV, monitoring systems and helicopters used to inspect slopes and track weather systems.