Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The latest on the crash enquiry; Risk; Cyclists, young and old; and PP corruption.

Over at South of Watford, Graeme has always been tough on Spain's politicos and newspapers. Or those from the centre-right to the far right at least. But he's OK and here's his take on the aftermath of the Santiago crash. He's just a little more sceptical/cynical than I am but, then, he's been in Spain longer. And he reads more papers than me.

The right-of-centre El Mundo continues to stress the driver's responsibility while asking no questions about security system(s) which should counteract driver errors. The paper's line is that the train was 'out of control' for 5 to 7 minutes, even though it adds that the driver didn't leave either the cabin or the controls during this period. Nor did he use the phone supplied by RENFE. The suggestion is that - even though he'd done this route 60 times before - he was was disorientated as to where he was and only braked when it was too late. I find this confusing but, as I've said, we need analysis of the black box(es) data. This began today, it's reported. In the interim, I've no doubt that the national government, the regional government, Adif and RENFE won't budge a millimetre from their line that it was all down to the fault of a negligent driver. Which, of course, it may be. Though it would be nice to have some hard evidence of both what happened and what didn't happen.

The left-of-centre El Pais takes a wider and less partisan approach in today's editorial.

You might think that, especially here in Galicia, there'd be heightened sense of risk right now. If there is, it wasn't evident yesterday when the impatient driver behind me drove up my backside the length of a long, slow stretch of nasty bends on the autovia down to Portugal. Nor this morning when I had to brake hard entering a roundabout to avoid being hit in the side by someone coming from the left way above the limit. As usual with men like this - it's always men - he gave me a look which suggested I shouldn't be on the road the same time as him.

Which naturally leads into the subject of cyclists on the pavements and in the pedestrianised parts of town. Essentially one's at permanent risk of being hit from behind by one of these jokers, as they weave in and out of traffic at speed. God help you if you unwittingly step to one side as one of them reaches you. The government has just announced it'll be introducing fines for jaywalkers - desperate times, desperate measures - which seems to me like the right time to start collecting revenue from these blatant law-breakers. Not to mention the scooter and motor-bike riders with their noise suppressors removed!

Which reminds me . . . I realised this week why the world of motorcycling is dominated by Spain. It's because, from the age of about 2, kids here are allowed - nay, encouraged - to career down slopes on little bikes without the aid of stabilisers or brakes. Oblivious to the pedestrians in their way.

Anyway, the focus of popular attention now switches to President Rajoy and what he's likely to say in Parliament this week about the allegations of illegal funding and backhanders to senior party members. Significantly, around 90% of people surveyed don't think he'll say anything revealing and a large majority say they believe the ex-treasurer who's making the allegations more than they do the president. Which, ironically, rather supports his normal stance of saying nothing. The probability is he'll take the classic Spanish defence of - "OK, we did it but the Opposition is worse." Known in brief as "Y tú más!".

Finally . . . Don't bother to try to subscribe to Old Reader. After a week or so of problems, they've effectively closed it down. The Curse of Col


Anonymous said...

thought you'd be interested in hearing that the driver was actually speaking with RENFE at the time of the crash (funny how they failed to mention this little detail, un "despiste"). RENFE called him to give him directions on where to go when he arrived in Ferrol. The driver had to pull out a map (and I assume take his eyes off the track) to follow the caller's instructions/directions!

Colin said...

Yes, I was astonished to read this detail this evening. Yesterday it was reported that he was not on either of his 2 phones. If it's true someone called him when the train was scheduled to be where it was, rather than at Santiago station, some explaining needs to be done. Can they really have been hoping/planning to hide this? I'm waiting for tomorrow's papers before going into print on this. Apart from this, obviously . . .

Sierra said...

"...nasty bends on the autovia down to Portugal...."

Sums up Spain's infrastructure - too much money disappearing into inflated land acquisition compensation, design fees, "commissions", and not enough left for actual construction. So you get 80kph bends on supposed "high speed" railway lines and autovias.

They are currently trying to eliminate the bends on the A3 Madrid-Valencia autovia - taken four years to date, and at probably 3 or 4 times the cost of the original poorly-designed road

Anonymous said...


SDC train accident - CNBC saying driver was on the phone and consulting papers and only hit the brake seconds before impact - Say this comes from Black Box. See



Anonymous said...

CNN Confirm the above, in a little more detail at


For "CNBC" above read "CBC News" - Sorry, getting late.


Colin said...

Yes, it's reported here that - contrary to what was said yesterday, the driver was answering a call from RENFE on his work phone and consulting papers or a map. He hit the brakes just before the curve and took it at 153kph. Am waiting to see how this is reported in the morning and what the explanation is for this surprising development. Will RENFE finally say something?

Colin said...

@Sierra. They certainly need to explain why the ERTMS wasn't being used, despite being expensively installed years ago on the Ourense-Santiago stretch.