“We are unsure who the judge wants us to send,” says Adif following subpoena

Rail firm consults lawyers in wake of safety chief summons

Legal advisors to the state-owned railways manager Adif are studying how to comply with a judicial order requesting testimony from the person or persons responsible for safety on the stretch of line in Galicia where the Alvia crash that claimed 79 lives occurred last month, but have admitted they are unsure exactly who to offer up to justice.

Adif employs several security chiefs with various roles. It is also unclear whether the judge has asked that the current security official be summoned, or the one in the post during the previous Socialist administration when the Ourense-Santiago line was inaugurated. There are also other concerns: should the political or technical manager be called to testify; the national safety head or the one responsible for Galicia; the person in charge of signaling, maintenance or the automatic braking system?

"The legal department is examining the judge's decree, because it is not very clear who the people who have been summoned are," said Adif sources.

Judge Luis Aláez, who is conducting the investigation into the July 24 crash just outside Santiago, asked that the company provide the names of whoever is in charge of line safety in the area "with details of the capacity and authority of each individual in the taking of decisions."

When Adif identifies the required employee or employees, a date will be set for their testimony. Aláez noted in his preliminary findings that there was an "omission of elementary prudence on the part of those who are responsible for safety," as the stretch of track where the Alvia derailed carried a "high risk in the absence of a system that could resolve [human error] automatically."

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