Spain to review railway protocols and security systems after deadly crash

MADRID (AFP) - Spain will review its railway network to improve security after a train derailed last month killing 79 people, Minister of Public Works Ana Pastor said on Friday.

"We are carrying out a general review of all protocols and all security systems, as well as speed limits. When I say all, it is of the entire railway network," she told a parliamentary panel about the July 24 crash.

"We are analysing the network. And we will take decisions that improve security based on this analysis," she added.

The train was hurtling around a bend at 179 kph, more than twice the speed limit, when it leapt off the tracks near the north-western city of Santiago de Compostela, according to its data recording "black boxes".

The driver, 52-year-old Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, was on the telephone with the on-board conductor and stopped speaking just 11 seconds before the train flew off the tracks.

He has been provisionally charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide, and has been released under court supervision while an investigation into the crash continues.

Railway officials say the track where the train crashed was not equipped with the automatic braking systems in place on some high-speed lines and that it was left up to the driver to brake.