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Latino Daily News

Friday August 9, 2013

Spanish Investigation Shows Train Never Contacted Headquarters Before Crash

Spanish Investigation Shows Train Never Contacted Headquarters Before Crash

Photo: Spanish train crash

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The train that derailed on July 24 near the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela experienced no problems prior to the accident and “there is no record of any communication” between the railway operator and the driver, the head of state-owned railway company Renfe, Julio Gomez-Pomar, told Parliament on Thursday.

The high-speed passenger train went off the tracks along the route linking Madrid and the Atlantic coastal city of Ferrol, killing 79 people and injuring 150 others.

Driver Francisco Jose Garzon had been working for eight hours and 46 minutes, with two hours and 42 minutes actually spent operating the train, and the time worked complied with regulations, Gomez-Pomar told the Development Committee of the lower house of Parliament.

The train involved in the crash passed an inspection on the morning of the accident, indicating that all the equipment, including the brakes, were in perfect condition, the Renfe chief said.

There are three warning signs near the curve in A Grandeira where the accident occurred that set the speed limit at 80 kph (49 mph), Gomez-Pomar said.

“More than 7,000 trains have passed through” the curve in A Grandeira without problems, the Renfe chief said.

Drivers “have restrictions on making calls outside” the train and must follow a “series of recommendations aimed at preventing distractions,” Gomez-Pomar said, referring to the use of cell phones by Renfe personnel.

The railway company has provided the court investigating the accident with all the documentation requested, including the driver’s personnel file, a report on his physical and psychological condition, his work schedule, the operation of the Asfa system and the train’s condition, Gomez-Pomar said.

Renfe is processing compensation requests for the 23 victims who have filed claims, Gomez-Pomar said.

The Renfe chief expressed his “sincerest condolences” to all those affected by the accident and their families, and thanked all those who assisted the victims after the derailment.