Work has started to repair the track at the site of the tragic Stonehaven rail crash.
Three people died when the 6.38am ScotRail Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service derailed at Carmont, near Stonehaven, on August 12.
The train, which reached speeds of 72mph, hit a landslip as it tried to return to Aberdeen due to the weather conditions.
According to weather records, between 5am and 9am around 52mm of rain fell in the Carmont area. This is almost 75% of the total monthly rainfall (70mm) for Aberdeenshire in an average August.
A massive recovery operation began to remove the overturned carriages last month, before the bridge and embankment was repaired.
The incident left the train’s four carriages and two power cars a badly burned and twisted wreckage, and the tracks, and a nearby bridge parapet the train collided with, were also severely damaged in the disaster.
One of the sections of the train landed on top of another, another carriage came to a stop upside down, and two others were left down the side of a steep embankment to the side of the tracks following the crash.
Now Network Rail has announced engineers have started to re-lay 500 metres (1,640ft) of track.
Work will continue into November as teams remove and replace the track and relay 400 metres (1,312ft) of telecoms cables.
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “This is a very complex and challenging recovery and repair operation and it will take time for our engineers to fully restore the track and other infrastructure.
“While we will reopen the line for customers as soon as possible, our focus throughout the recovery process has been on making sure we do all we can to learn from this terrible accident and try to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.”
The crews have worked day and night over the past few weeks to complete repairs to 70 metres (230ft) of bridge parapets and remove the crane pad built over the Carron Water for the recovery of the carriages in September.
A considerable amount of engineering work is also being carried out to repair and extend drainage systems on the railway track and lineside embankments at the site.
Train driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury died in the crash. Six others were taken to hospital to be treated for injuries.
The incident was the worst to have happened on Scotland’s railway since 1991 when four died in an incident at Newton in South Lanarkshire.
Network Rail has since introduced a range of additional safety measures.
As an immediate precaution, hundreds of sites nationwide with higher-risk trackside slopes, similar to Stonehaven, were inspected.
These inspections were carried out by both in-house engineers and specialist contractors, supplemented by helicopter surveys.
Network Rail has also launched two taskforces, led by independent experts, as part of its long-term response to climate change and the challenge of maintaining its portfolio of earthworks (embankments and cuttings), many of which date from the Victorian era.
ScotRail is operating a shuttle service between Aberdeen and Stonehaven and between Dundee and Montrose to keep customers in the north-east moving following the derailment.
The date for a full return of train services is not yet known.
A replacement bus service also remains in place between Dundee and Stonehaven, and between Dundee and Aberdeen.
Cross-border operators are also running replacement buses between Aberdeen and Edinburgh, with more information available on the National Rail website.