The president of the Spanish state railway company Renfe and a member of the government fell into an embarrassing affair. The railroad ordered 31 trains worth a total of 258 million euros, too large for some of the tunnels in the intended area of operation in the north of the country.
About three weeks after the scandal was discovered, Renfe president Isaías Táboas resigned on Monday, state television broadcaster RTVE reported. The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Transport, Isabel Pardo, has also made her position available.
two years late
Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez accepted both resignations, she said, citing the Madrid government. According to the authorities, the error will lead to a delay in the commissioning of the new trains by at least two years until 2026. The prime ministers of the affected regions of Cantabria and Asturias wanted to meet with Sánchez in Madrid late Monday afternoon to negotiate financial compensation.
Although the request had already been made in 2020, the Spanish train disaster only came to light at the end of January through a report by the regional newspaper El Comercio. The central government has already admitted the error, but stated that the taxpayer did not suffer any financial loss because the trains, which were very wide, had not yet been built. After several warnings, the entire production process ended up being stopped. Madrid published the new order for transport manufacturer CAF on Saturday.
The new trains are intended to replace the outdated fleet in regions that are not as well connected to the national rail network. The rail network in Cantabria and Asturias dates mainly from the 19th century and runs through a mountainous landscape. The tunnels in the two regions still have different dimensions, which do not always correspond to modern railway standards in Spain.