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Railway Head Asked To Stop Driving Trains Herself

October 20, 1993

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The head of Spain’s state railroad company got the message: No more taking commuter trains on joy rides.

Merce Sala, president of the National Spanish Railway Network, often took the wheel of whatever commuter train she happened to ride to the office.

But Transport Minister Jose Borrell told the Senate on Tuesday that she ″has received a friendly indication ... asking that in the future she abstain from doing so,″ the Spanish daily El Pais reported.

The issue came up after opposition politicians complained that a train driven by Sala had come to a rather sudden stop at a station outside Madrid earlier this month.

″I thought that if the president of RENFE drove a train, perhaps the president of (the state airline) Iberia would pilot a plane - a thought that frightened me,″ Popular Party Sen. Jose Miguel Fernandez Pelegrina said.

A spokeswoman for RENFE, the acronym for the state railway, said Sala has the required training and she drove the trains to stay in closer touch with ″railroad realities.″

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