The human dimension of the tragedy of Santiago de Compostela is deeply sad, with almost 80 people having lost their lives so far. But it also carries an economic side effect worth considering for the Spanish railway industry: international clients may now feel less confident about hiring Spanish rail companies and, more to the point, their bid for a multi-million project of a high-speed service between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo could end up going nowhere. Firms from France, Italy, Germany, Japan, China and Canada have joined the race.
This is a €13.5 billion mega-project, which includes the construction of a superstructure with electric systems, signalling, security and telecommunication resources, their maintenance and the exploitation of the railway service during 40 years.
The prestige that Spanish companies have achieved in this sector is high, yet officials from Brazil’s national agency for terrestrial transport ANTT have commented that the accident in Galicia may influence the election process. The results will be published on September 19, and the Spain-led consortium bring in Ineco, Indra, Talgo, CAF, Renfe, Adif, Elecnor, Cobra, Abengoa, Indra, Thales, Bombardier and Dimetronic.
Analysts in Madrid expect that the investigation over the causes of the accident will have made public its conclusions before the Brazilian government awards the project. A company under suspicion after such a grave event would have no chances of wining the bid. The Spanish group, according to informations from Brasilia, has so far been short-listed.
The Spanish companies can only be hopeful that their technical responsibility and efficiency is finally cleared so they can add a new success to the recent €6.7-billion Mecca-Medina high speed railway line.