Spain Ordered New Trains, Forgot One Important Thing

They're too wide to fit in the nation's old tunnels
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2023 8:03 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2023 4:05 PM CST
Spain Ordered New Trains, Forgot to Measure
A railway track in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Similar tunnels in northern Spain are too narrow for the trains that were ordered.   (Getty / abriendomundo)

Two top transportation officials in Spain are out of a job over a hard-to-fathom gaffe: They ordered the construction of new trains too wide to fit in the nation's old railway tunnels. Isaias Taboas, head of rail operator Renfe, and Isabel Pardo de Vera, secretary of state for transport, have resigned over the mistake, reports the BBC. The good news is that the manufacturer building the trains discovered the measurement error early enough to keep the government from losing its $275 million investment in the 30 or so new commuter trains, per the Guardian. However, the mistake brought a halt to construction and will result in a two-year delay in the trains' delivery.

It's a "monumentally botched job," says the head of the regional government in Cantabria, Miguel Angel Revilla, per DW. Both Cantabria and another region in the north, Asturias, have railway tunnels winding through the mountains that date back to the 19th century and are not as wide as modern tunnels. Two other lesser-ranking officials were fired last month, when the mistake first came to light. The government says it will conduct an investigation to figure out how the plan got designed and approved. (Read more Spain stories.)

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