The Ministry of Transport and Renfe learned that the new trains for, above all, Cantabria and Asturias worth 258 million did not fit through the tunnels for at least a year and a half.

A document from the State Agency for Railway Safety from September 2021 proves that the problem had already been more than identified at that time and the solution that has ended up being adopted and announced now was already outlined.

It is a note in the form of minutes of the meeting, focused on "the problem of gauges" and whose content has been explained to EL MUNDO by knowledgeable sources.

In it it is said verbatim that Renfe -the purchasing public company- and CAF -the builder of the trains- admit "the impossibility of complying with the process of compatibility of the train with the area of ​​use".

Thus, any possibility of continuing with the 31 trains commissioned by the president of Renfe himself,

Isaías Táboas

, with his signature in December 2020, was thus sentenced. The contracted was the CAF group and the order, for 258 million euros.

It was already concluded then that the design would have to be changed to fit through the tunnels and, for that, the recipe was defined at the time:

«The comparative method allows obtaining the maximum construction profile of the vehicle,

starting from the vehicle data that is intends to manufacture."

In other words, the solution that Renfe is going to use, which is to use a train that currently runs on the railway lines to serve as a reference.

The AESF is attached to the Ministry and is chaired by the General Secretary for Infrastructures.

Various senior officials attended

that meeting in September 2021, which had another precedent in March when CAF warned of the problem


According to the minutes, there was a slap on the wrist of the railway infrastructure administrator Adif, but she practically excuses her.

Instead, a clear indication is made of Renfe as responsible.

The Adif group was asked to be clearer with "the data of the real gauges of its infrastructure" and "not the theoretical or desirable ones for future actions."

But it indicates that it

is "the railway company", which "has to demonstrate the compatibility of its train with the specific routes on which it intends to operate, since despite the fact that the vehicle

has an authorization, it may not be compatible with any specific or specific characteristic of the lines on which it will operate”,

And he adds, according to the sources consulted, "it is true that the undesirable situation could be reached of having authorized vehicles that could not circulate on certain lines because

their gauge is too large, but this type of restriction is what must be controlled by the railway company

through the process of compatibility of the train with the route".

The Ministry of Transport has not explained how it is possible that Renfe, knowing that it had to adopt this solution in 2021, has not started to execute it until now.

The minister herself, Raquel Sánchez, admitted this Monday that they still do not have the final design of a train that will fit through the tunnels, but that she hopes to have it

"approximately in summer" to then outline a production and delivery schedule.

There is also no explanation as to why the Ministry has not been more forceful with Renfe, having the information, so that it could quickly correct the error.

The result, according to government sources,

is not cost-effective

, because the 31 trains had not yet been manufactured, but a considerable delay of up to three years.

Trains that were expected by the end of this year

may arrive no earlier than 2026.

For now, the Government settles the scandal of the trains that do not fit through the tunnels with dismissals in Adif and Renfe of intermediate positions outside senior management.

"The imminent dismissals", announced by the Minister of Transport,

Raquel Sánchez

, last weekend are limited to the head of Adif's track inspection and the manager responsible for material management of the subsidiary Renfe Viajeros, as reported by both companies public without detailing names.

Sánchez, who belongs to the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) like Táboas, has wanted a dismissal in Adif, despite the documents focused on Renfe that she has.

In any case, these are charges outside the senior management of the Ministry and Adif and Renfe

, despite the fact that the scandal means delaying the delivery of the aforementioned

31 trains valued at 258 million euros for

several years .

Both the minister and the presidents of Cantabria,

Miguel Ángel Revilla

, and of Asturias,

Adrián Barbón,

had recognized the relevance of the scandal and the need for exemplary dismissals.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Renfe

  • Cantabria

  • Asturias


  • Train accident in Santiago