A hero train worker who walked three miles while injured to raise the alarm after the Stonehaven crash has been praised for her actions.

Nicola Whyte, from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, was travelling to work for ScotRail on the fateful 06.38am service when it derailed near Stonehaven on Wednesday, killing three people.

The 31-year-old's proud family paid tribute to her on social media after ScotRail's operations director praised the bravery of an unnamed staff member who was able to get to a signal box to call for help.

ScotRail worker Nicola Whyte has been praised by her proud family

Nicola's sister Emma wrote on Facebook: "My heart goes out to all crew and passengers involved in the major incident. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for all involved and it’s such a difficult time for us all!

"I am however a very proud sister of Nicola for walking three miles with injuries to get help for everyone! "Forever grateful that you’re okay!"

In another message on behalf of Nicola, she wrote: "She would like to thank everyone who has wished her well and a speedy recovery after yesterday’s incident.

"She currently doesn’t have access to her phone due to police investigations. If anyone wants to get in touch with her, feel free to message anyone of us.

Crews inspect the scene near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

"It has been an absolute nightmare for us all.

"Thank you again, all your kind wishes, they mean the world to Nicola and all our family.

"Stay safe, and hug your loved ones tighter."

Passenger Christopher Stuchbury who died in the Stonehaven derailment

Scores of messages of support have been left for Nicola, with one pal calling her a "true hero".

Train driver Brett McCullough, 48, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Chris Stuchbury, 62, all died after the train hit what is believed to have been a landslide while attempting to reverse in Carmont.

Six other people, including Nicola, were injured.

David Simpson, operations director for ScotRail, paid tribute to the brave staff member in a radio interview on Thursday, adding that rail staff were "shocked and stunned' at the loss of their colleagues.

He said: "Colleagues are paying tribute to the staff involved, both those who lost their lives and another member of staff on board who was able to raise the alarm following the incident.

"All are dedicated members of staff, and it's tragic that a driver and a conductor have lost their lives in these circumstances.

"The staff member who raised the alarm was travelling on the train, and was able to get to an adjacent signal box to raise the alarm after the incident.

"Obviously their account of events will be critical in establishing what happened, and that will be a key element of the investigation process.

"Again I would pay tribute to the actions of that member of staff, following what must have been an extremely bad experience being involved in the actual incident."