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Collision With a Tree Near Broughty Ferry

Investigation into a train striking a tree near Broughty Ferry, Angus, 27 December 2023


Damage to the driving cab sustained in the collision (images courtesy of ScotRail)
Damage to the driving cab sustained in the collision (images courtesy of ScotRail)

At 13:17 hrs on 27 December 2023, a passenger train travelling between Balmossie and Broughty Ferry on the Perth to Aberdeen line struck a tree which had fallen across the track from outside of the railway. The train was travelling at 84 mph (135 km/h) when the collision occurred. The driver of the train made an emergency brake application and took shelter behind the driving seat immediately before the impact.


On the day of the accident, storm Gerrit had brought heavy rain and strong winds across Scotland and other parts of the UK.


The driver received minor injuries as a result of the accident and the driving cab of the train was heavily damaged, disabling the train and requiring its passengers to be evacuated.


Our investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events that led to the accident. It will also consider:

  • the management of train operations during adverse weather conditions

  • the arrangements in place to manage and control the risks from trees falling on to the railway

  • how information received from members of the public relating to railway safety is handled

  • the crashworthiness of the train

  • any underlying management factors.


Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.


We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

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