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The judge investigating the tragic train crash in Santiago de Campostela on the 24th of July last year, Luis Aláez, has issued a report which harshly criticizes the actions of those responsible for train safety within track operating company ADIF, and accuses the senior management of “increasing the risk to the lives of thousands of people”, for changing the track safety system on the line where the crash took place, for “commercial reasons”.

The judge also notes that the decision may have saved “a few minutes of travel between Ourense and Santiago”, that saving was done with “a significant increase in risk to the lives of hundreds or thousands of people using the line every day”.

In a 14-page document, the judge notes that it is those people responsible within ADIF who took the “momentous decision” to modify the original project of the Ourense-Santiago line and remove the option of a safer train management and braking system need to be accountable. The actions of those responsible for ADIF, “has as an element bounding the safety of rail users” and the transformation of this line without the addition of “security measures” is likely to constitute a crime.

In the report, the judge asks about the differences in the line before and after the change of security system, and suggests that, although the area where the accident occurred has the ASFA system, Anuncio de Señales y Frenado Automático or Automatic Braking and Announcement of Signals in English, the section appears to be worthy of a better feature, as planned, which was deemed necessary under the European wide train management system.

Reporting that the decision not to improve the system was made by those with commercial interests and not those from the technical departments involved, Aláez suggests that those who have the “technical training”, especially in the substantial differences between the two safety systems, “must logically presume ability to understand who takes charge of safety of rail traffic”.

The judge also cites a senior train driver as a witness in the case, a driver who in 2011 sent a report noting the dangers of the line where the crash occurred. The judge has also called the two people who received that report, the three people summonsed to appear in court on the 7th of March.

The judge has also given train operator RENFE 10 days in which they must submit copies of all documents which led to the disconnection of one of the train safety systems on the 23rd of June, 2012, in addition to contract and insurance documents.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42614/

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