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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Spain: ‘Transport Secretary’ and ‘Head of Rail Company’ Step Down from Their Positions

Spanish officials resigned following new trains were too big for tunnels

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

SPAIN: Span’s secretary of the head for transport and the head of the state rail company have turned in their resignation. Isaías Táboas (Head of Spain’s rail operator Renfe) and Isabel Pardo de Vera (Secretary of State for Transport) have now resigned from their position.

They all have left their roles following a long series of public and political anger after it came to view that dozens of new trains that were ordered for two northern regions in Spain happened to be too big to fit through some tunnels.

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It was understood in January this year that the trains constructed under the 258 euros contract would be too wide to go through some of the tunnels in the two regions. Asturias’ president said he was “baffled, angry and disappointed.”

Renfe, the state oil operator, three years ago had made plans to advance the rolling stock on the narrow-gauge commuter trains and the medium-distance trains running through Asturias and Cantabria.

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Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of the Socialist-led coalition government of Spain, said that he would make further necessary changes by curbing the delays on the Asturian and Cantabrian networks until the fresh rolling stock commenced to come into service in early 2026.

PP MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons asked, owing to the far-left anti-austerity Podemos party’s reformation of the controversial only-yes-mean-yes sexual consent law, “If a secretary of state and the president of Renfe resign over the train fiasco, who’s going to resign over the more than 4,000 sex offenders who’ve won the lottery thanks to only-yes-mean-yes?” 

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On Monday, Raquel Sanchez, Spain’s transport minister, said, “I’ve done everything I can to figure out what happened and find a solution from the minute I found out about this situation.”

“Right away, we took ownership, expressed regret, acknowledged the error, and assigned blame. We’ve also started an internal audit and formed a working group in an effort to identify a solution and get the trains’ construction along as quickly as we can,” she added. 

Raquel also mentioned that the mistakes were discovered before any train was built. She said in a statement on Saturday, “There has not been any wasted use of public resources as a result of the search for and acceptance of the best option when it comes to building the most roomy, contemporary, quick, and efficient train feasible, while also taking into account the unique rail infrastructure.”

Also Read: Spain: Massive Protest Erupts against Cuts in Public Healthcare


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