The train drivers’ union, SEMAF, has advocated bureaucratic measures to paralyze rail activity between Atocha and Recoletos stations after three train derailments occurred in less than two weeks. The organization requested the power provided by the Occupational Risk Prevention Law to prevent trains from continuing to pass through the change points that caused many services to leave the track on November 26 and December 5 and 8, which affected the service. regular in Cercanías, Madrid.
These incidents are in addition to two others that occurred at the same point in the month of June. Behind all this, there seems to be a problem with the operation of a switch change (also called a detour) that allows access to the Recoletos tunnel from track 5 in Atocha and is used by a significant number of trains per day.
In this way, SEMAF announced the activation of a procedure of urgent order to “stop the activity due to the serious and imminent risk for workers and passengers between the stations of Atocha and Recoletos, after several accidents that happened.”
“Given the frequency of accidents, we cannot wait for the result of the next one with more serious consequences,” argued the union, which pointed out that it could be the result of “poor maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock,” as well as “the lack of investment in the network for normal road traffic, which says enough.
After the third incident, Adif issued a communication in which they explained that “the track devices of Atocha Cercanías are inspected daily by the maintenance bands,” and that in the case of the detour that caused the derailment, checked it was before the end two events took place “without finding any defect,” in addition to the repair after each of them and reviewed from time to time.
Due to the need to maintain open circulation between Atocha and Chamartín through the only available tunnel, the Recoletos tunnel—since the Sol tunnel was cut north of Nuevos Ministerios—Adif chose to implement a temporary limitation of speed (LTV) that requires trains to travel. at a maximum of 10 kilometers per hour when they pass through these changing points, something that is not enough to prevent the incidents from continuing.