Pedro Nuno Santos on the accident with Alfa: “The safety of the railway operation in Portugal is not at stake”

The Minister of Infrastructure promised a quick investigation with public conclusions. The accident left two dead and six seriously injured.

Pedro Nuno Santos

“The security of the railway operation in Portugal is not at stake. The Alfa Pendular is a very modern machine from the point of view of technology, the infrastructure, the signaling too, but we obviously have to do the clearance work to better understand what happened. Signaling on our rail network is advanced technology, as is infrastructure, and like our rolling stock, in this case, Alfa Pendulares are advanced technology, but obviously the accident happened and we have to understand why it happened ”, This Friday assured the Minister of Infrastructure, in the place where there was a accident between an Alfa Pendular that followed on the North line, from Lisbon to Porto, and a maintenance machine from IP - Infraestruturas de Portugal, next to Soure station, near Coimbra.

According to the latest balance of authorities, this railway accident caused two deaths, two maintenance workers of the IP, and 43 injuries, including seven seriously injured.

“Alfa Pendular, the railway infrastructure, signaling are today modern systems that guarantee great safety. The railway is one of the safest means of transport, as you know, but, unfortunately, there are incidents. What we immediately started to do, through the Railway Accident Prevention and Investigation Office, was to start investigative work now to find out the causes of this accident, to understand what happened, to understand what went wrong, what could be done, to draw all the conclusions from what happened with this accident ”, guaranteed Pedro Nuno Santos.

According to the governor, "now, it is premature and it would be speculative and wrong on my part to be speculating in public about the causes of the accident". “There is an entity that has this function, this work has already started and, therefore, we are going to let GPIAAF do its work so that we can all understand better what happened and, therefore, I did not want, at this stage, to do any kind of speculation” , justified.

Considering the accident "serious", Pedro Nuno Santos promised a "quick, adequate response". “We will do everything so that the entity that has this competence, does its job, first with quality, but also as soon as possible and, obviously, on my part, this is our policy, it is known [the result of the investigation], nor could it be otherwise ”, guaranteed the government official.

“We will wait for the report so that we understand exactly what happened. At this stage, I can't give you an explanation that I don't have ”, assumed Pedro Nuno Santos.

The Minister of Infrastructure also underlined the security of the national rail network and the investment that is being made in the sector: “I would not say that the railroad has passed or is an unsafe form of transport, because we know that it is even one of the more secure than we have. Now, this does not prevent accidents from happening, as this one did. Now, we have to understand what happened, learn from what happened and further reduce the risk of accidents on the railroad, which, as everyone knows, is small ”.

Pedro Nuno Santos also stressed that "investment in the railroad, as you know, is being made, at this moment, without precedent in the last decades".

“If there is a moment where, finally, investment in the railroad began, it was these last years. This does not mean that we have no problems. It is a permanent work that is being done on our railroad, not only to modernize it, but also in its maintenance and conservation. Therefore, we, at this moment, the most we can do is wait for the conclusions of the investigation. Now, that investment in the railroad and in the railway infrastructure, as it has not been done in Portugal for many decades, this is a truth that everyone knows ”, defended the Minister of Infrastructure, speaking to journalists.

Regarding the reopening of the Northern line operation, the Minister of Infrastructure admitted problems: “We will have to wait to understand the conditions in which the infrastructure is. This is not our biggest concern right now. Obviously, the operation will be harmed by the accident ”.

Updated at 20h05m

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