Spanish railway operators chiefs to be quizzed by MPs after crash

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Senior officials from Spain’s railway operators are due to be questioned by a parliamentary committee following last month’s deadly train crash in Santiago de Compostela.

The heads of train operator Renfe and railway administrator Adif will face questions about rail safety.

The derailment on 24 July killed 79 people and left about 170 injured.

Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo is under investigation but has not been formally charged. It has been determined that he was not under the influence of drugs nor alcohol, just caffine. The police are still looking for the tablet where the driver claims he was looking at the route and not using it for entertainment purposes. 

The BBC’s Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid says that although the appearances of the two senior officials before a congressional committee have been prompted by the train crash, the session is not expected to look at the causes of the accident.

Instead, MPs will ask what measures have been taken since then to improve safety.

Among the issues the rail chiefs are likely to be asked about are procedures for communication between rail company employees, our correspondent says.

The train’s “black box” data recorder has revealed that Mr Garzon was talking to a colleague on his work phone and consulting documents just before the derailment.

Judicial authorities have said the train was travelling at 192km/h (119mph) despite a speed limit of 80km/h (49mph) on the bend where it derailed.

All eight carriages careered off the tracks on the express route between Madrid and the port city of Ferrol on the Galician coast.

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