Spain’s rail crash: Train tragedy

Posted: July 27, 2013 in economy
Tags: , ,

THE high concrete containing walls along the recently remodelled railway cutting are tastefully stamped with the scallop shell, the symbol carried by Roman Catholic pilgrims heading towards the nearby shrine of St James. The smart new cable posts are painted an elegant dark green. This stretch of railway track on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela is another of those shiny examples of public transport infrastructure that so amaze visitors to Spain from north America and elsewhere.But when one of Spain’s new Alvia trains took the curve too fast on July 24th, spun off the rails and smashed into the wall, it became the tragic site of one of Europe’s worst rail accidents in recent decades. Of the 218 passengers on board, 78 died. A further 81 are still in hospital.Spaniards reacted in the admirable way that they always respond to great tragedies. Neighbours rushed to the scene, pulling survivors out of the wreckage. Hundreds of people formed queues to donate blood at local hospitals. And, as Spain went into official mourning for the dead for three days, the country showed its solidarity with the families and friends who had anxiously gathered in the city to discover the fate of loved ones.As Spain grieves with dignity, it is already clear that much of the blame lies with the driver, who took the curve at what experts say is more than twice the mandated speed. The driver …

via Economic Crisis http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/07/spains-rail-crash?fsrc=rss

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