The Majorcan rail company and the Balearic government gave assurances yesterday that steps are to be taken to ensure that a rail accident, like last week's crash in Sa Pobla, never happens again. Balearic Minister for Public Works, Francesc Quetglas, said yesterday that new security and safety systems are to be fitted to the island's growing railway network to make sure there are no repeat accidents and that while the cause of last week's accident appears to have been human error, all technical, safety and mechanical systems “function correctly. Francesc Quetglas stated yesterday that the investigation into the accident has concluded that the cause was human error caused by poor visibility. The thick fog which enveloped the island early last Tuesday morning reduced the visibility in the cab to just 15 to 20 metres, according to the statement given by the train driver. Representing the SFM Majorca railway company, Tomas Morey, said that the report states clearly that the three-carriage train involved in the accident, was in perfect condition and there were no signs of a lack of maintenance, so all that the investigators were able to conclude was that the fault lay with the driver who was unable to brake in time because of the reduced visibility. The front carriage careered into a 12-ton concrete railway buffer, which it overturned before coming to a rest on top of the block. The front carriage was split in two by the impact and fortunately there were only six injured, one serious, the ticket inspector who was apparently with the driver at the time of the crash. However, despite the report allegedly placing the blame with the driver, SFM manager Antonio Santos, praised the driver's “high level of professionalism and experience,” adding that he is unlikely to be sanctioned “because we're not talking about negligence.” Pere Sintes, in charge of the railway's infrastructure, denied that the lack of sufficient railway signs was to blame, adding that the train was not running alone, it was connected to fixed signals as well as electronic blocks and telecommunications systems connected to the main control centre. Sintes said that all the drivers know the routes very well and before pulling away from the main stations are fully briefed. All of the injured, apart from the ticket inspector who is recovering from an operation, have since been discharged from hospital. Quetglas said that, for the moment, none of the injured, who are entitled to compensation, have taken any legal action. The crash has, however, reduced the number of carriages in operation by 20 per cent, but the railway company is re-organising its timetable so that passengers are not disrupted during the two months it will take to replace and repair the damage. Some of the least-used services will be scaled down, but rail services operating with 80 per cent occupancy levels will be beefed up. Railway boss Antonio Santos was also keen to point out at yesterday's presentation of the crash investigation, that last Tuesday's accident was the first to have happened in the rail company's 125 year history.


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