Spanish government mandates a committee to study safety in Spanish Rail Sector

The Spanish Ministry of Public Works announced yesterday that there will be a committee installed on Monday that will advise the government on how to improve safety in the Spanish rail sector, following the death of 79 people in a crash in Santiago de Compostela. The committee is to be a “technical-scientific committee” of “twelve recognised professionals in de the railway industry” which will hold its first meeting on Monday, the government released in a statement. The committee will focus on design, procedures and especially the usage of ASFA versus ERTMS.

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It is unknown which organisations are selected for the committee. The purpose of the commission is to investigate the railway sector and establish a report within six months, including a comparison of the Spanish sector with other neighbouring countries. The report is to include an analysis of existing regulations as well as an analysis of measures strengthening and improving securityincluding ERTMS. “All safety and security protocols are to be investigated” announced Ministry, a job which ADIF had already started days after the fatal accident. It is not know how this committee relates to the ADIF work already ongoing.

The Spanish government is under pressure after widespread criticism when it was revealed after the Santiago de Compostela accident that ERTMS was installed but not used, and ASFA was used instead. Technicians and engineerings are expected to review the transition areas from High Speed Lines to conventional networks.

According to the Spanish press, the Spanish railway industry, which recently won the contract to build the high-speed line between Medina and Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, fears that this accident endangers other international projects in countries such as Brazil, the United States or Russia.