Spanish slipup – trains too tall for tunnels

Oops! Our neighbours over the border made a serious miscalculation in the design of their new trains, meaning that they would no longer fit through the tunnels!

The error was spotted by the subcontractor engaged to manufacture the new fleet for the regions of Cantabria and Asturias. The €161 million contract covered over 30 new trains for a line which is known to have smaller tunnels than the rest of the network.

All the preliminary studies had already been carried out but the smaller dimensions were somehow overlooked.

Fortunately the building of the new trains had not yet begun but the design and conception had been a lengthy (and costly!) process, which is now delayed by an additional 2 to 3 years.

In addition to the commuter trains in Cantabria and Asturias, the error will also affect the Basque Country, Galicia, Castilla y León and Murcia.

The president of Cantabria, Miguel Ángel Revilla, denounced the fiasco as “a monumental blunder” and called for “heads to roll”. His call was answered on Monday when Renfe’s president, Isaías Táboas, resigned and the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Transport, Isabel Pardo de Vera, was dismissed.

Like we said… oops!


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