Two Spanish officials were fired approximately a month after reports exposed that the government spent over $276 million on trains that do not fit in the tunnels of the country's rail network, according to Yahoo News.
The government purchased 31 trains for €258 million, equating to approximately $276,300,000, to replace its fleet in northern Spain, which is said to be aging and the railways poorly connected.
Renfe, the country's national train operator, ordered the trains in 2020 and claims that it provided the proper dimensions to train track company Adif. However, the manufacturing body CAF says the measurements were likely not correct. According to EuroNews, CAF flagged the error in March 2021.
The older train tunnels used in the north typically do not accommodate newer train sizes, with Adif having incorrect infrastructure data on the tunnels.
President of Cantabria Miguel Ángel Revilla called the error "an unspeakable botch,” adding that “heads must roll."
Two senior Spanish officials have been dismissed along with a Renfe stock manager and Adif's head of inspection and track technology. Despite Spain's Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez saying she was only just recently made aware of the error, Xavier Flores, Spain's secretary general for infrastructure, says that he was aware of the problem months earlier.
Sanchez says she has launched an internal audit to determine who knew about the issue and why it took so long to bring it to light.
Despite the trains still being in the design phase, this will push back the completion from its original end date of 2024 to at least 2026. Dimensions from a different train currently in use on the rail network will be used to correct the error, and Adif assures the public it will update its infrastructure data to ensure the error is not repeated.
Government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez called it "unacceptable" and pointed toward the upcoming internal investigation.
Many outlets are comparing this to a botched French purchase from 2014, where a company spent over $14 billion on trains that were too wide.
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