More than 100 train passengers were left stranded in Spain after the driver decided to down tools and disappear when his shift ended.
The train stopped outside the village of Osorno at 9.15pm on Tuesday night, two hours after it left Santander in northern Spain on course for Madrid.
“The driver said he had finished his work shift and there was no substitute, so he stopped the train and got off,” a spokesman for the Civil Guard police force said.
One of the 109 abandoned passengers said they were told the train had stopped for technical reasons.
“Then 15 minutes later they said the driver had decided to stop because he had gone over his limit,” the passenger told local newspaper El Diario Montañés.
While some people travelling to nearby locations managed to scramble onto buses, most had to wait until 11.30pm for a replacement bus service to travel the remaining 200 miles to Madrid.
— eldiariomontanes.es (@dmontanes) September 14, 2016
Train operator Renfe said it had opened an investigation into the incident. It apologised to the passengers concerned, whose fares will be reimbursed.
“This kind of incident is unusual in our network,” the company said, adding that it was “the driver’s responsibility to inform in advance about a substitute requests”.
A spokesman for the Semaf rail workers’ union said the driver had put in a request to be relieved.
“They should have had a substitute driver lined up but it didn’t happen. We’ve seen similar things in the past.”
Separately on Tuesday, information from the black boxes retrieved from a rail crash in north-western Spain last Friday, killing four, revealed that the train had been travelling at 118 kilometres per hour, on a track that allowed just 30 kph.
The four dead were the Portuguese driver, two Spaniards and a US tourist.
Source: The Telegraph