In Spain, an arrangement of trains that are too big for the tunnels leads to a series of resignations

In Spain, an arrangement of trains that are too big for the tunnels leads to a series of resignations

Gabriel Boyes/AFP A train for the Spanish state-run railway company Renfe at Principe Bio train station in Madrid on September 5, 2019. (GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Gabriel Boyes/AFP

In Spain, an arrangement of trains that are too big for the tunnels leads to a chain of resignations (photo of a Renfe train taken in Madrid in 2019)

Spain – the size of the dumpling. In Spain, the case of trains that are too big for certain tunnels brought down the head of the Spanish Railways and number two in the Ministry of Transport, after 15 days of embarrassing controversy for the executive.

President of Renfe Railway Company since June 2018, Isaias Tapuas ” foot “ Monday 20 February “his resignation”A spokeswoman for the company told AFP.

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This sudden resignation has been added to the resignation of the Secretary of State for Transport Isabel Pardo de Vera, who is also the former head of the Director of the Spanish Rail Network Adive, confirmed by the Ministry of Transport in a short press release.

Transportation Minister Raquel Sanchez “express gratitude” for these two leaders “the work done in their respective jobs”According to the ministry.

The resignations come after more than two weeks of controversy regarding the arrangement of 31 trains for the railway network in northern Spain, which proved too large for some of the tunnels they had to go through.

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Two years of delays and possible additional costs

The order, valued at 258 million euros, was awarded following an invitation to bid in June 2020 to Spanish railway equipment manufacturer CAF, rival France’s Alstom and Germany’s Siemens, according to Renfe.

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According to the railway operator, it was this company, headquartered in the Basque Country (North), that realized in March 2021 that the dimensions provided during the call for tenders were incorrect. Then I alerted the authorities before even starting to build the trains.

“There was absolutely no risk that the wrong sized trains would be built because the manufacturer had the obligation, specified in the tender documents.”To carry out checks, Renfe confirmed to AFP.

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The fault — which was announced in early February, nearly two years after the problem was discovered — will nonetheless lead to delays in train deliveries, which will have to circulate in 2026 and not in 2024 as initially planned, according to the railway. . group.

And according to the Spanish media, this may also lead to additional costs due to the increase in material prices in recent months. Renfe rejected problem: “No financial problem, no money wasted”confirms to the group.

“Guilt Concealment” And “opaque”

The case has sparked heated debate in Spain, where the right-wing opposition has accused the government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of committing a crime. “Guilt Concealment” And the’“opaque”Less than a year before the legislative elections scheduled for the end of 2023.

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“You preside over a government that orders trains not to pass through the tunnels.”Recently, ironically, the second man of the Popular Party (PP, right), Cuca Gamarra, evokes “failure”.

The controversy has already led the Department of Transportation to fire the former head of equipment management in Renfe and a senior official in Adiv on February 6.

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She also urged Adif and Renvi to open a joint investigation to find out the circumstances that led to this described situation “A huge mistake” by the Minister of Transport.

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the ” It has not been seen in 40 years »

In reaction on Monday to the resignation of the President of Renfe and the Minister of State for Transport, the President of the Cantabrian Region Miguel Angel Rivela, of the regional party PRC, demanded, “compensation” for his lands, directly affected by this faulty train order.

“we’d like to clarify” circumstances and that “Solutions are on the table”Also affected, Adrien Barbon, the socialist president of the Asturias region, added on Monday before a meeting called by the Transport Ministry.

“I repeat my apologies but I also insist on the fact that we are working and that we are working on solutions”The Minister of Transport confirmed at the end of this meeting.

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“Dirty work of this magnitude, I’ve never seen it in 40 years”For his part, he criticized the president of the Cantabrian region.

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