Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Train Crash; Funny hats; Unfunny customs;Summer-dead Correos; and Dancing bears.

The Train Crash: The judge has confirmed his view that the conductor who called the driver just before the crash was in no way to blame for the consequences of the call. Said the judge: "His call was within the norms of the industry, though unfortunate in time and place. It was within permitted limits and the conductor was entitled to believe the driver would not ignore his overriding commitment to the train. The call was part of what's normal on a train. . . The sole cause of the accident was inappropriate and unforeseeable driving." As for the conductor . . . He said he hadn't succumbed to any feelings of blame, as the call had ended (just) before the train came off the tracks.

The other news yesterday was the allegation that the driver had ignored not just one but three acoustic warnings to slow down within two minutes. One can only guess as to why, other than involvement in the phone conversation. Incidentally, it was reported yesterday that the driver and the conductor were close friends, leaving me wondering whether it was Spanish rules of friendship-above-all-else which compelled the driver to take and continue the call.

Finally, it's been announced that the limit on the accident bend will be reduced to 30km, that more sensors will be installed on the rails and that an automatic braking will be put into operation for all risky stretches, though not the ERTMS system which has been installed but is not yet operative.

One of the survivors of the crash was also on one of the trains blown up in 2004. An unenviable claim to fame.

Spain's Guárdia Civil members no longer sport the glossy three-cornered hat of old on normal service, though it's still worn on ceremonial/official occasions, such as accompanying the President to the scene of the train crash last week. Reflecting the Franco-era excesses of the Guárdia Civil, the hat used to be a symbol of terror. Which is now rather hard to take on board, given how silly it looks. To me, at least.

I went to the Movistar(Telefónica) office yesterday, to start the annual calvario of changing my telecoms package. The lady brought up my file on the computer and asked to see my ID and evidence of my bank account number. She then used these to confirm my details on the file. Then she took my documents into the back room to photocopy them, just as she'd done last year. I can guarantee this wouldn't happen in the UK and I can't for the life of me understand why it was done here - other than the national obsessions both with creating paperwork and with proving who you are.

Searching on line last night for a way to complain to Correos about the more-than-haphazard delivery of the last 7 issues of The Economist, I came upon this post from Ben Curtis. Of course, this was written in 2008 and things have probably improved since then. Amazon Spain has been set up, for a start. Though I've no idea whether it's dogged with delivery problems. I'm prepared to believe that - unlike with small gifts sent to me from the UK - most, if not all, purchases do actually arrive. Anyway, I made my complaint to Correos by filling in a form which demanded not only my phone number but also my ID number. Why?, I ask again. Because, like Everest, it's there?

Finally . . . The bear necessities.


Perry said...


From a BBC report.

There has been recent tension between Spain and Gibraltar over fishing rights, and Spain has lodged a complaint with the UK over the creation of the artificial reef which it says stops "Spanish fishermen fishing in a manner that is contrary to our law".

Correct me if I am wrong, but stopping Spanish fishermen fishing in a manner that is contrary to Spanish law is a good thing I would have thought?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the latest SDC derailment (is that word preferable to "crash") creeping revelations.

Good luck with Movistar.

Oops - your "Post" hyperlink is the repeat of the bear stuff.


Bill said...

I've not ordered from, but have done so recently from for delivery to my Spanish address (the system permits having one main address - I've used my UK address for Amazon deliveries for ?10 years - and a supplementary address, in my case in Spain).

When ordering one simply clicks on the relevant box when it comes to deciding to which registered address the shipment is to be delivered to. Two shipments to Spain recently (in May) were ordered on Friday & Saturday respectively and delivered the following Wednesday & Thursday. When I say 'delivered' I mean just that; the shipment email advices advised that the goods had been shipped & provided a tracking code with probable date of delivery. The tracking code confirmed that the items were 'out for delivery' on the appropriate days, with delivery being done by a local courier company which has the Amazon contract (the depot is in the nearby town); friends had told me he always visits our area mid-afternoon & sure enough he turned up at my door in his van at about 3.30pm on both occasions, just requiring me to sign on the little electronic screen of his hand-held device. All very straightforward. The only difference is that Amazon have since then abolished 'free delivery' for Spain and other mainland European destinations; they've also tightened up the 'free delivery' conditions for the UK. I suspect this may be something to do with the recent controversy about not paying much if any UK taxes, despite most of their European business being here (although 'booked' for tax purposes in Ireland), so they are probably having to take more care to ensure that each shipment is self-financing so they have the funds to pay 'some' tax in future to keep politicians and public opinion quiet.