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Automatic braking system had been due to be fitted at site of Spanish train crash

79 people died when the train derailed at a bend while travelling at 179 kilometres per hour on 24 July.

Image: Lalo R. Villar/AP/Press Association Images

THE SECTION OF track where a train derailed in Spain, killing 79 people, was initially due to be fitted with a security system that automatically slows speeding trains, the head of Spain’s track operator said today.

However, the plan was later scrapped because of the type of track at that spot, Gonzalo Ferre, the head of state railway track operator Adif told a parliamentary panel about the 24 July crash.

The system that automatically brakes speeding trains is only used on high-speed tracks, but the section where the accident happened was a conventional track, he said.

Therefore, it was fitted with another security system that stops the train only if it is travelling at over 200 kph (125 mph), Ferre said.

The train was hurtling around a bend at 179 kph, more than twice the speed limit, when it leapt off the tracks, a court in Santiago de Compostela which is investigating the crash said last week after analysing the train’s data recording ‘black boxes’.

(Video: ali ahmad/YouTube)

The driver, 52-year-old Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, has been provisionally charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide. He has been released under court supervision while an investigation into Spain’s deadliest rail accident since 1944 continues.

The president of state train company Renfe, Julio Gomez-Pomar, said the crew had not reported any problems with the train before the crash.

“All security procedures were followed correctly,” he added.

We are committed to finding out what caused the accident and we will continue to improve the safety of the Spanish rail system.

Spain’s Minister of Public Works Ana Pastor will appear before the parliamentary panel tomorrow to discuss rail safety measures.

Thirty-eight people who were injured in the accident remain in hospital – six of them in critical condition, regional health authorities said.

Read: 77 dead in Spanish train crash, 140 injured >

Read: “No indications” any Irish citizens were on board >

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