Spain transport officials resign over trains too big for tunnels
Madrid, Feb 21 (EFE).- Spain’s deputy transport minister and the head of the state rail company Renfe have resigned after they were left red-faced over a botched order for trains that would have been too big to fit through mountain tunnels along some of their intended routes.
Transport secretary Isabel Pardo de Vera and Renfe president Isaías Taboas tendered their resignations Monday over the blunder that came to light earlier this month.
Renfe struck a deal with rail firm CAF in 2020 to produce 31 new commuter trains but the delivery of the vehicles earmarked for the northern regions of Asturias and neighboring Cantabria was delayed by two years, to 2026, when it emerged the vehicles would not have fit through some mountain tunnels on the network there.
Raquel Sánchez, the transport minister, met with the regional heads of Asturias and Cantabria to address the situation Monday, and said the deal would be expanded to 38 trains.
Other trains already operating the routes would be given a facelift in the meantime.
The issue was identified by CAF in 2021, before manufacturing got underway, but was not made public until this year.
Renfe commuter services would remain free of charge for customers in the affected areas until the new vehicles arrive. EFE