Two travel bosses in Spain fired over an engineering blunder as a project to replace commuter trains is forced back to the drawing board
Renfe (officially Renfe-Operadora), the national passenger railway company of Spain) has postponed the building of 31 commuter trains, costing 258 million euros, for up to three years. These trains were to be used primarily in Cantabria, but also in Asturias, Euskadi, Galicia, Castilla y León, and Murcia. The delay is due to miscalculations in the train’s dimensions, which don’t fit in the tunnels.
The delay primarily impacts the north of Spain, mostly Cantabria, which was promised 21 of the 31 Spanish trains. In response to the controversy, Renfe has announced two middle management dismissals and a new agreement with the contractor, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), to resolve the issue through the “comparative method”. This method involves creating new trains based on an already running model on the line.
Another engineering gaff
The most advanced submarine in the Spanish Navy sank in 2016 due to an excessive weight of 70 to 100 tons, worth over 500 million euros. The repair took nearly two years and required additional funds from the budget.
Once the first prototype’s problem was solved, another setback arose when it didn’t fit in its base at the Cartagena navy dock due to its extra ten meters of length. An additional 10 million euros had to be invested.
It is common for public works to experience significant budget overruns, and some issues, despite being well-explained, remain inexplicable and many say unacceptable.