Senior rail officials in Spain are being questioned by a parliamentary committee after last month’s fatal crash at Santiago de Compostela.
The proceedings began with a minute’s silence for the victims: 79 people died and around 170 were injured.
The heads of the train operator (Renfe) and of the company that manages the rail infrastructure (Adif) are being questioned.
The chief rail administrator Gonzalo Ferre told the inquiry that the section of track was initially due to be classified as high speed, which would have meant a more sophisticated safety system, automatically slowing down speeding trains.
The train left the rails at 153 kilometres an hour, almost twice the limit. The driver Francisco Garzon is under investigation for manslaughter.
The official said the track was made a conventional line, bringing less advanced protection, because a high speed track “would hardly have reduced travel times”.