As El País has pointed out, not only the Presidents of Adif and RENFE are pointing to the driver as the sole possible cause of the crash but the government, too, is increasingly taking this line. As the paper points out, though, this is just not on. Three days after the tragic event no one has come forward from the two companies to discuss the technical issues and to answer the several questions which have arisen.
As I said earlier, the backcloth to this attitude is the potential loss of a 13 billion euro contract for high-speed rail development in Brazil. So, it's no great surprise to hear Adif and RENFE insisting that this crash had nothing to do with high-speed track, safety systems or trains.
You or I might find this hard to believe but they clearly don't. And it's for this reason that they have to inculpate the driver, insisting that Spain's railways are totally safe so long as the drivers obey the speed limits. Which clearly wasn't the case here. (This, incidentally, is about the only thing everyone agrees on).
So, OK. Let's accept that the train was doing an excessive speed at the bend, possibly even 190kph. And let's agree with the Adif president that the driver should have started to brake 4km from the bend. And let's further agree that his failure to do this was accidental, negligent or deliberate. It doesn't make any difference which.
The real question is - Why wasn't the train slowed or even stopped as a result of the operation of whatever safety system was in place?
And if, as we're told, the answer is - Because this depended entirely on the response of the driver to the signals and warnings he was getting, then the question I'd like to have an answer to is:- If the train was approaching the point where it needed to start slowing down and was doing 200kph, what would happen if the driver had a heart attack here and couldn't act on the warnings?
Are we meant to understand that, with the main driver out of action at this point and the second driver down in carriage 7, there would be nothing to stop the train either coming off the rails at the bend or, worse, smashing into Santiago station?
If not, why not? How do you stop a train which, effectively, has no drivers.