The train service in Spain is actually considered to be exemplary throughout Europe – punctual, fast, reliable. But a farce leaves scratches on this image. The Spanish railway company Renfe placed a large order as early as 2020: 31 new trains were to be delivered, the order costing around 258 million euros. But it was only more than two years later that research by the local newspaper "El Comercio" revealed that a blatant mistake had been made: the trains ordered are too big for some of the tunnels in their area of operation.
A debacle that is now also having political repercussions. After the bad planning became publicly known at the end of January, a discussion arose about the personnel consequences. Renfe boss Isaías Táboas has now announced his resignation, reports the television station RTVE. Isabel Pardo, State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, has also resigned. In addition to Táboas and Pardo, two executives at Renfe and the railway network administration authority Adif also had to vacate their posts.
The error in the order is expected to delay the deployment of the new trains, which should operate in the regions of Cantabria and Asturias in northern Spain, by another two years. The prime ministers of the regions had already called for personnel consequences from both the railway company and the ministry. The Prime Minister of Cantabria, Miguel Angel Revilla, called the bad planning "botch". He criticized that apparently "neither the tunnels nor the trains were measured" and that the process was covered up for so long. The Prime Minister of Asturias spoke of a "shameful and embarrassing scandal".
After all: Financial damage for the tax office should not have arisen because the trains have not yet been built. A new, corrected order has since been placed. However, passengers will have to wait a little longer for the new trains. And all the confusion has at least one positive side effect: Until the delivery of the new fleet, which is planned for 2026, passengers in the affected regions can use the trains free of charge.
Quellen: RTVE (1) / RTVE (2) / "El Comercio"