The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, has appeared this Wednesday in the Congress of Deputies to explain what happened in the train incident in the Bejís fire (Castellón) and, also, to break down at what point the railway connection with Extremadura is. Regarding the train whose circulation was interrupted by the fire in Bejís (Castellón), which caused more than a dozen injuries, Raquel Sánchez has repeated on several occasions that neither the train operator, Renfe; nor that of the railway network, Adif; received no notice about the fire.
The Judicial Police investigates the incident with the train in the Bejís fire
“The notification” of an incident on the railway network like this, “can come from different sources, such as the security forces and bodies, or the administrations”, Sánchez has indicated but, in this case, “neither Adif nor Renfe received notifications , nor of evictions, nor of changes in the conditions of the fire”. In addition, he has pointed out that just a few hours before the incident, another Renfe train that made the same route between Valencia and Zaragoza, made the same route.
“The first communication was from the train driver”, pointed out the Minister of Transport, who has appeared in Congress at her own request. Sánchez has broken down what happened during those hours on the train, although she has pointed out that these events must be analyzed with "the utmost caution" because they are under investigation.
Sánchez has stressed that it was the driver who “stopped the vehicle because she saw ashes and smoke”, who asked the rail traffic regulation center if there was a fire and it informed her that “that information had not been received”. However, seeing flames in the vicinity, the driver "communicated that she was going to change cabin and go back", which "was authorized immediately".
"In the process of changing the cabin, there were situations of tension and alarm", Sánchez recounted, because some "passengers wanted to get off the train and so they did". In addition, there were passengers who pulled the automatic brake, so the driver - who is on sick leave - had to rearm the train, which delayed the march.
Once circulation resumed, the train picked up people who were running after leaving the vehicle and who already had burns. However, the train only had cosmetic damage, in addition to a broken window from which several passengers jumped. Two of them, Raquel Sánchez has pointed out, are still hospitalized. "The protocols were complied with," she stressed.
Sánchez has stated in Congress that the Ministry plans to "increase and improve" the exercises in the training of railway personnel to "address problematic situations generated from abroad." In addition, he has indicated that instructions to citizens on how to proceed in situations such as the one that occurred this summer will be improved. Among these improvements, he has proposed the idea of "reinforcing" the information about the responsibilities of the machines and that they be identified as the only valid interlocutors. For this, the Government considers that the train drivers and the rest of the crew have "the consideration of an agent of the authority in these situations". “We are open to including it in the railway sector law that is being processed in this chamber,” he pointed out.
High speed train in Extremadura
The other matter that has led Sánchez to appear this Wednesday in Congress has been to assess the implementation of the new high-speed train line that connects Madrid and Extremadura. This new route began to roll in July, although the first days had a reality marked by incidents and delays. "We were not up to the expectations that we had raised," Sánchez acknowledged. Although, he has defended that "there was neither negligence nor was it a disaster", as he has assured that the Government was accused during these days.
Sánchez has again attributed the incidents of the first days to causes "fundamentally of technological origin", although he has also pointed out that wiring thefts took place. Other problems that affected navigation have been assured that they were caused by problems in the navigation systems that are "usual in the start-up" of a train line. After the incidents of the first days, the minister has defended that "the measures adopted have helped to improve the quality and punctuality of the services to Extremadura, with a punctuality close to 90%". “The incidents are already residual and half of the days there has been no delay, with levels similar to those of other communications”, she has settled.