The Spanish city Santiago de Compostela has been devastated by a high-speed train crash which killed at least 80 people.
Annual festivities to honour St James the Apostle have been cancelled, as locals reel from the shock of one of Europe’s deadliest rail disasters.
Near the city’s cathedral, Swedish pilgrim Clarence Hamilton said: “It’s a very sad thing and I hope none of my pilgrim friends were on the train because some of them left that day, for trains from different parts. So it’s really is a sad thing.”
Italian tourist Rosella de Baunise was emotional, explaining: “I am moved. So many people embarked upon an inner voyage to come here. You can tell a superior voice has summoned them.”
The first trains have begun passing the spot where the tragedy took place.
Euronews Javier Villargarcia reported from there: “Now that the train has been removed and rail operations are starting up again, there’s an attempt to get things back to normal. But here at the site of the tragedy, the main question’s not been answered yet. What caused the train to enter the A Grandeira turn at such speed.”
The train that derailed near Santiago de Compostella was a Series 730 model, one of the most modern by Spanish rail company RENFE. Their first trains were launched in June 2012.
The S730 was part of the Alvia service, for trains running faster than 200km/h. It was built by a consortium of Spanish intercity passenger train maker Talgo and the train branch of the Canadian company Bombardier.
A specificity of the S730, that started with its predecessor the S130, is that the axle spacing can be modified while the train is running. The spacing on traditional Spanish railways is 1.668m, while the European standard is 1.435m. When Spain started its high-speed train program, it adopted the European standard for axle spacing. Thanks to the possibility of axle spacing adjustment while running, the S130 and S730, can circulate on all railways in the country.
Fifteen carriages of the S130 series have been modified to develop the S730 series, making it more an evolution than a new model. The main difference is that the S730 has hybrid propulsion, since it is equipped with both electrical and diesel power. The train can reach 250km/h on electrical mode, and 180km/h using its diesel engine.
Credit photo : @Kabelleger