Passengers and rail staff from across the UK today held a one-minute silence in honour of the three north-east men who lost their lives in the Stonehaven train tragedy.
The families and loved-ones of driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury gathered at the railway station in Aberdeen to attend a wreath-laying ceremony.
The one-minute silence was organised for 9.43am, the moment rail authorities became aware of the devastating accident which happened on the Aberdeen to Stonehaven line following a spell of torrential rain last Wednesday.
Brave Nicola Whyte, the hero who walked three miles from the derailed train while injured to raise the alarm, was also at the poignant ceremony, her arm in a sling and her foot in a walker boot.
Representatives from the emergency services, railway organisations and local and national politics gathered in the Aberdeen Station building – with navy blue ScotRail uniforms visible all around, as workers came to mourn their colleagues.
Relatives of those who died watched on as figures, including Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie laid wreaths below the station sign.
They then proceeded to lay their own bouquets among the vast display of flowers.
They were joined by rail staff from across the country who also held a minute’s silence in honour of the men who died when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street train crashed into a landslide across the tracks.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson attended the silence at Edinburgh Waverley station while at Queen Street station in Glasgow dozens of staff and passengers took part.
Many English and Welsh stations joined the tribute, while the Scottish Parliament also marked the minute’s silence.
At London Waterloo, Network Rail staff stood underneath the station’s clock in a circle with their heads bowed.
In Aberdeen, Dereck Grant, the railway chaplain for the north of Scotland, spoke as the ceremony took place, leading a prayer for those who lost their lives or were injured, and everyone else affected by the tragedy.
The laying of tributes finished around five minutes before the scheduled time of 9.43am – exactly a week after the incident was reported on August 12 – leading to an extended solemn silence in the station.
Provost Howatson said: “It was an honour to attend today’s poignant ceremony to pay tribute to the three men who died so tragically last week.
“As a nation we stood shoulder to shoulder to pay our respects and pass our condolences to the families and friends of driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.”
On behalf of Aberdeenshire Council, Provost Howatson went on to thank members of the Rapid Response Team and the wider community for their compassionate support of emergency responders at the scene.
He said: “Demonstrating their core values of care and compassion, these volunteers from the Rapid Response Team were quickly on the scene and have continued to play a vital role in supporting our emergency crews.
“Not only did they serve up essential hot food and refreshments throughout the emergency operation, they also provided words of comfort and support to those who were dealing with the traumatic aftermath of the crash.
“These dedicated volunteers have also remained on site over the weekend to support the various services who continue to inspect the scene, and I know I speak for all those who were kept nourished over these past few days, that this support has been gratefully received.
“Of course, our own communities have also rallied at this painful time. We have heard heart-warming stories of local businesses donating food and preparing meals, while local sports and community groups were on hand to help serve those at the site.
“This response at such a tragic time demonstrates a very real community spirit for which I thank you all personally and for which you must all be applauded.”
Alex Hynes, the managing director of ScotRail, was among those who gathered at the Aberdeen Railway Station and also laid a wreath.
He said: “Today is a very sombre day for Scotland’s Railway. We will mourn the passing of Brett, Donald, Christopher, and the tragic events of last week for a long time to come.
“Our hearts remain broken, but together with our railway family, the local community, and people across the country, we will support their family, friends, and one another through this terrible time.”
In Stonehaven, staff gathered at the train station to remember the three victims.
And in the town square people stopped where they stood to pause and reflect.
Councillor Sarah Dickinson, who represents Stonehaven, said the families of Mr McCullough, Mr Dinnie and Mr Stuchbury were in “her thoughts and prayers”.
And a Moray community held a two-minute silence to mark the tragedy – and for them, it had a poignant local link.
Dozens of residents lined the streets around Burghead Church of Scotland at 9.43am to support the grieving family of Christopher Stuchbury, who live locally.
The 62-year-old, from Aberdeen, was aboard the service when it derailed.
Patrick Glendinning, a beadle at the Kirk and a piper, started the brief ceremony by playing a rendition of Amazing Grace and an Irish tune called Killaloe.
He said he was honoured to have been asked to lead the poignant memorial.
He said: “I didn’t know Christopher well but his mother Molly, she was an absolute stalwart in the Kirk here. I think it went off all right.”
Billy Davidson, chairman of Burghead and Cummingston Community Council, said: “It’s quite sad really. What had happened is horrendous.
“He was a very nice fellow, he really was. He was a nice, nice man.”