The Government of Spain will extend the train contract for the metric gauge network as compensation for the delays in its construction, which have been saved with the resignation of the president of Renfe, Isaías Táboas, who will be replaced by Raül Blanco; and the dismissal of the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Isabel Pardo de Vera, who was president of Adif at the time the purchase of the trains began.
The Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, has confirmed that the option to purchase an additional 7 trains will be exercised, which will be added to the 31 set in the initial contract. These will be divided into 21 trains for the metric gauge network of Cantabria and 17 for Asturias. Added to this is the renewal of the entire current fleet of metric gauge trains, a process that Renfe had already started.
The presidents of Cantabria and Asturias, Miguel Ángel Revilla (PRC) and Adrián Barbón (PSOE) have also achieved the Government’s commitment to finance the free Renfe Cercanías services on conventional and metric gauge networks (the former Feve ) until the new trains come into service, a period that will last until the year 2026.
Both regional presidents have sealed this agreement in a protocol “that serves as the Government’s commitment to both governments, because it would be useless if there were not a written document,” the Asturian president defended. It has also been agreed to set up a commissioner to monitor compliance with these agreements.
The head of the ministerial portfolio has recognized that “there were initial failures” and that “it has taken time to respond to a problem that is complex.” For this reason, he launched an internal audit in his department that has led to the dismissals announced today, which emerges from the two presidents of the public companies involved in everything related to the contract.
“I cannot deny that I would have liked to have had this information much sooner,” argued the minister, who also thanked the work carried out by Táboas and Pardo de Vera. “Since the first day I have shown my face, I have apologized, we have recognized the error, I have cleared up responsibilities, I have demanded an internal audit and we have formed a working group to speed up the construction of these trains”, she recounted in the speech her.
Sánchez has classified this situation as a “setback” that has caused an “unjustifiable” delay. “It is about giving the appropriate answers and offering solutions. It is important to be clear and realistic with the facts and with what has happened. Even more so when a subject like this is misinformed, distorted and ends up developing a meme of some supposed times that do not fit in the tunnels and that have never occurred or existed”.
The comparative method is used in the design
The Ministry of Transport published last Saturday a Ministerial Order with which it modified the gauge instruction that allows the application of the comparative method to design and manufacture the controversial metric gauge trains to be specified. With this Order, the Government intended to slam the controversy that arose around these trains, which accumulate a delay of three years in their construction.
The published standard allows use of the so-called “comparative method” which makes it easier for the design of the construction profile of these trains to be made by comparison with others that already circulate on the affected sections. The ministry admits that specifying this method in a ministerial order was not essential because it was already included in the Gauge Railway Instruction, but it chose to reference it “in a clean way to specify and detail its application.”