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Spanish train crash: death toll now 80

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Spanish train crash: death toll now 80
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The death toll in the Spanish train crash has now risen to 80.

Ninety five people remain in hospital, 36 in a critical condition.

Pictures are emerging of the immediate aftermath of the crash.

They show emergency services having to cope with fire and smashing the windows of the carriages to get to the injured.

Conditions were made more difficult as choking smoke hampered the relief efforts.

Many local people went to the scene to see if they could help, some taking the initiative and trying to free trapped passengers themselves.

The train had eight carriages, all were badly damaged, some finished upside down.

Agrandir le plan

The train was just coming in to Santiago de Compostella around 8.40 p.m. local time on Wednesday evening when it jumped the tracks.

Medical staff at the scene tried to give emergency first aid.

Firefighters had been planning to go on strike, but the stoppage was cancelled when news of the tragedy came through.

Fleets of ambulances ferried the injured to hospital.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the crash. Preliminary reports indicate the train was going too fast.

Police have placed one of the two train drivers under investigation.

The train that derailed near Santiago de Compostella was a Series 730 model, one of the most modern used by Spanish rail company RENFE. The 730 first went into service in June 2012.

The S730 is part of the Alvia service, that is trains running faster than 200km/h. It was built by a consortium of Spanish intercity passenger train maker Talgo and Canadian company Bombardier.

A feature of the S730 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 programme, it adopted the European standard for axle spacing. Because the axle spacing can be adjusted on these train while they running, the S730, and the earlier S130 model, can be used on all Spanish rail lines.

The S730 has hybrid propulsion, being equipped with both electrical and diesel power. The train has a top speed of 250km/h in electrical mode, and 180km/h using its diesel engine.

Credit photo : @Kabelleger