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BALEARIC minister for Public Works, Housing and Transport, Mabel Cabrer, claimed yesterday that last weekend's train derailment on the Inca to Manacor railway line, was due to shoddy workmanship “for which the previous coalition government must take responsibility”. The accident which took place in the early hours of Sunday morning on a section of track close to Petra, was caused by a railway bank support wall collapsing and falling onto the line. Thirteen people were injured as a result.
Cabrer described the collapse of the wall as being due to “a piece of shoddy workmanship” which “ended up putting the lives of people in danger”.
She reported that a preliminary study presented by an independent technician “confirms that the collapse was the result of a defect in the construction work”. “Tomorrow (17 March), there will be a Board Meeting of the Majorcan Railway Service (SFM)” said Cabrer to journalists in the Balearic Parliament building, “when an investigation will be launched” and an official appointed to “look into the case”. She made the point that “the only piece of public infrastructure undertaken by the previous coalition government in the Balearics has fallen apart”. The minister also emphasised that “many people could have died in the accident if the third carriage had been full”. Cabrer gave prominence to the fact that “the technical staff who operated at the Ministry” during the term of office of the previous government “confirmed the pressure they had been under to complete these works because the government at that time wanted to inaugurate the line” before the elections of May 2003. In Cabrer's view, this would explain the defects of the workmanship on the railway line. With regard to the length of time that this section of track will remain closed, the minister disclosed that before any date could be given, she wanted guarantees that a similar accident couldn't reoccur. “There is no date” insisted Cabrer, who explained that she is going to oversee a complete revision of the line and declared that her department has a primary interest in re-opening the line as soon as possible, once due safety guarantees have been given. But former transport minister Bartomeu Quetglas challenged Cabrer's findings, accusing the conservatives of using the accident as an excuse to close down the line as they are opposed to improvements to public transport.