MERIDA, 22 (EUROPE PRESS)
Renfe has detected an “anomaly” in the Alvia train that has been put into service this week in Extremadura, and that causes it to reduce speed on some sections with slopes, so it is working with the manufacturer to solve this problem.
Meanwhile and until a solution is found, Renfe will make a “small adjustment” in travel times, which will increase by “a few minutes” with the aim that “people do not have the feeling that the train does not arrive late”, and in exchange, will compensate with a 50 percent discount on the price of the ticket for this journey.
This has been advanced by the president of Renfe, Isaías Taboas at a press conference this Friday in Mérida, after meeting with the Minister of Mobility, Transport and Housing, Leire Iglesias, and the president of Adif, María Luisa Domínguez, to discuss the numerous incidents registered this week after the commissioning of the Alvia train in Extremadura.
Isaías Taboas began his speech asking Extremadurans for “excuses”, because “we have a commitment with them and we are not fulfilling it”, after which he recalled that he undertook “to work to restore confidence in the railway services”, after which he has highlighted the “effort” they have made for the “dignification of services” in the region.
However, the president of Renfe has explained that after being put into service this past Monday, the company has “detected a problem in the Alvia trains, which is one of the best we have in the fleet, which have been running for years with complete satisfaction on other lines of Spain”, but that in the case of Extremadura, this “anomaly” causes the train “not to stop, but it slows down in some sections”.
“CHAIN REACTION” WITH OTHER TRAINS
According to the president of Renfe, the system overheats, and “to protect the engine, the train slows down in some sections, probably the sections that have more demanding slopes than they have in other parts”.
This overheating, to which is added the high temperatures these days in Extremadura, which “do not help it to cool down, causes that speed reduction” in some sections, which makes the travel time longer than expected.
This increase in travel time “generates a series of inconveniences for other trains” which causes a “chain reaction”, which affects other circulations of the service in Extremadura.
It is an “anomaly” that was not detected in the testing period, and that Renfe is now analyzing with the manufacturer to find a solution “as quickly as possible”, to avoid this delay in travel times.
Isaías Taboas has understood that “today the trust of Extremadurans in the train has been lost”, but he has reaffirmed that they are going to “work hard” to try to recover this trust “in a short time”, for which they will try to “solve this problem and that we can provide the service that citizens expect and that we want to provide”.
Finally, and regarding the requests for resignation that some groups have requested, the president of Renfe has ruled out resigning, since he has to “work” to solve these incidents.
ADIF RECOGNIZES FOUR INCIDENTS
For her part, the president of Adif, María Luisa Domínguez, explained in her speech that, with regard to infrastructure, there have been four specific incidents that have produced “significant delays”.
Of these, three have occurred at points in the diversion devices, which have involved having to divert trains along the conventional line, to which was added this morning a failure in the electrical connection.
“The system is prepared to guarantee traffic safety, so that when an itinerary cannot be verified, if it is one of the itineraries, what is done is to send the train through the other itinerary, even if it is to a reduced speed, and if neither of the two itineraries is checked, it is to stop the train for safety reasons and continue the journey but at a lower speed”, he assured.
Along these lines, the president of Adif has indicated that she understands that, for passengers, it may not be an “ideal” solution, but “safety” is always prioritized and she added that on the first day of commissioning in the region, caused a delay of about four minutes due to a “human error” when routing a train along the path of the conventional line.
For this reason, he stressed that the solutions that are already being given are “fundamentally” the reinforcement of the brigades and the maintenance personnel, in such a way that the maintenance already planned has been reinforced with six additional brigades, which total 15 people and the reaction time is shortened.
Domínguez has reported that at this time there are already, in terms of line maintenance personnel, in the part of the high-speed route, 54 people and it is expected that there will be 144 people when the system is complete.
Likewise, the personnel of the Mérida maintenance headquarters are 81 people, who are for the conventional network but who are also entering to reinforce the brigades.
In this way, it has ensured that of the four incidents that have occurred, three were solved in a matter of “minutes”, and in relation to the fourth, which was the needle in Arroyo de la Herrera, it has been necessary to adjust the engine.
Thus, tonight there has been an adjustment of the engine and this Friday it is working normally, in addition, a company will monitor said engine during the day to make sure that it works well and if not, proceed with the change “tonight”. Therefore, this incident will have to be resolved throughout this day, he assured.
The president of Adif was aware of the inconvenience that these incidents cause in users, which she has attributed to the adjustments of the first days of the entry into service of any line, although she has admitted that “exceptionally” they have been ” accumulated”.
However, he pointed out that, with the reinforcement of the maintenance brigades placed at “strategic points” so that their reaction is rapid, Adif understands that over the next few days the incidents will not be repeated.
Domínguez has asserted that this section was in a position to be inaugurated this past Monday, since “if not, it would not have been put into service”, since “all the reliability tests of all the systems had been carried out, in the infrastructure and signaling”, and “all the protocols had been passed”, he reaffirmed.
CONFIDENCE VERY IMPAIRED AND REDUCED
For her part, the Minister of Mobility of the Junta de Extremadura, Leire Iglesias, has assured that the trust of the administration and citizens is “very deteriorated” and “decreased”, something that has contrasted with the reliability gained in recent three years, in which it had gone from an incident every eight hours to a reliability of 85 percent in the services. “The minimum to which we should aspire,” she has maintained.
For this reason, Iglesias has insisted that what he is asking for on this day are “explanations”, “solutions” and “responsibilities”, in addition to thanking the president of Renfe and the president of Adif for having come to give explanations, to “give the face” and to account for what is happening for these incidents to occur.
The next thing, he said, is to explain what the solutions are going to be so that this stops happening and that the train works with “due normality”, that they be “punctual”, “reliable” and “not only comfortable”, besides that they work correctly.
In addition, and from there, the counselor has pointed out that those who have made decisions that have been “appropriate” must assume responsibility.