In an official meeting in September 2021, the operator was held responsible and the solution was indicated.
The Ministry of Transport and Renfe learned that the new trains for, above all, Cantabria and Asturias worth 258 million did not fit through the tunnels for at least a year and a half. A document from the State Agency for Railway Safety from September 2021 proves that the problem had already been more than identified then and the solution that has ended up being adopted and announced now was already outlined. It is a note in the form of minutes of the meeting, focused on the problem of glibos and whose content has been explained to EL MUNDO by knowledgeable sources.
In it it is stated verbatim that Renfe -the purchasing public company- and CAF -the builder of the trains- admit the impossibility of complying with the process of compatibility of the train with the area of use. Thus, any possibility of going ahead with the 31 trains commissioned by the president of Renfe himself was already sentenced, Isaas Tboaswith its signature in December 2020. The contract was the CAF group and the order, for 258 million euros.
It was already concluded then that the design would have to be changed to fit through the tunnels and, for that, the recipe was defined at the time: The comparative method allows obtaining the maximum construction profile of the vehicle, starting from the data of the vehicle that is intended to be manufactured. In other words, the solution that Renfe is going to use, which is to use a train that currently runs on the railway lines to serve as a reference.
The AESF is attached to the Ministry and is chaired by the General Secretary for Infrastructures. To that meeting in September 2021 that had a precedent for another in March when CAF notified of the problem, tovarious high positions attended. According to the minutes, there was a slap on the wrist for the railway infrastructure administrator Adif, but it practically excuses her. Instead, a clear indication is made of Renfe as responsible. The Adif group was asked to be clearer with the data of the actual gauges of its infrastructure and not the theoretical or desirable ones for future actions. But it indicates thats the railway company, which has to demonstrate the compatibility of its train with the specific routes on which it intends to operate, since despite the fact that the vehicle has an authorization, it may not be compatible with any specific or specific characteristic of the lines on which it will operate,
And he adds, according to the sources consulted, that it is true that it could lead to the undesirable situation of having authorized vehicles that could not circulate on certain lines por be its gauge too large, but this type of restriction is the one that must be controlled by the railway company through the process of compatibility of the train with the route.
The Ministry of Transport has not explained how it is possible that Renfe, knowing that it had to adopt this solution in 2021, has not started to execute it until now. The minister herself, Raquel Sánchez, admitted this Monday that they still do not have the final design of a train that will fit through the tunnels, but that she hopes to have it. approximately in summer to then outline a production and delivery schedule. There is also no explanation as to why the Ministry has not been more forceful with Renfe, having the information, so that it could quickly correct the error.
The result, according to government sources, it is not cheap, because the 31 trains had not yet been manufactured, but there was a considerable delay of up to three years. Trains expected by the end of this year they may arrive no earlier than 2026.
At the moment, the Government settles the scandal of the trains that do not fit through the tunnels with dismissals in Adif and Renfe of intermediate positions outside senior management. “The imminent dismissals”, announced by the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, last weekend they were limited to the head of track inspection of Adif and the manager responsible for material management of the subsidiary Renfe Viajeros, according to what both public companies have reported without detailing names. Snchez, who belongs to the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) like Tboas, has wanted a dismissal in Adif, despite the documents focused on Renfe that he has.
In any case, these are positions outside the senior management of the Ministry and of Adif and Renfedespite the fact that the scandal means delaying the delivery of the aforementioned 31 trains valued at 258 million euros. Both the minister and the presidents of Cantabria, Miguel Angel Revillaand from Asturias, Adrin Barbn, they had recognized the relevance of the scandal and the need for exemplary dismissals.
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