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Rail company blames human error for train accidents

April 11, 1997

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Insisting that Spain’s train service is safe, the state rail company on Thursday said the failure of drivers to obey speed signals caused two train derailments last month that killed 20 people.

The company, RENFE, presented the findings of their investigation into the March 31 wreck in Huarte Arakil, that cost 18 lives, and the April 1 accident in Guadalajara, that left two dead, to two separate courts investigating the incidents.

``The accident was the fault of individual people and has no bearing on the entire group (of drivers),″ said RENFE official Ramon Escribano. ``These accidents were isolated incidents.″

Regarding the Huarte Arakil crash, RENFE said the train was traveling at 82 mph when it should have been moving at no more that 18 mph as it attempted to switch tracks. The driver was also traveling too fast in the second accident.

Escribano said the company may take disciplinary action against both drivers.

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