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Cablegate: Codel Brown Discusses Train Infrastructure And

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PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHMD #1633/01 2361519
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241519Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3257
INFO RUEHSS/OECD POSTS COLLECTIVE
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SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SP ECON ELTN EIND OVIP
SUBJECT: CODEL BROWN DISCUSSES TRAIN INFRASTRUCTURE AND
SECURITY IN SPAIN

1. (U) Summary. During a visit to Spain August 13-15,
Congresswomen Corrine Brown (D-FL), Grace Napolitano (D-CA),
and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH) discussed railway security
and investment with Spanish Congressional officials and
railroad representatives. Spanish parliamentarians from the
Chamber of Deputies Committee on Infrastructure told the
CODEL that Spain planned to invest more than 150 billion
euros over the next decade to expand the role of railways in
the Spanish economy. Spain's National Network of Railways
(RENFE) separately provided the CODEL with a tour of Madrid's
Atocha station (where the March 11, 2004 bombing took place)
as well as of the Zaragoza-Delicias train station, which will
serve as a major transportation hub for the Zaragoza 2008
exposition. During the tours, RENFE officials admitted that
though they considered the train stations' security measures
to be robust, the measures currently in place could not
definitively prevent another March 11-type train station
attack. End Summary.

2. (U) On August 14, parliamentarians from Spain's Chamber
of Deputies Committee on Infrastructure explained to CODEL
Brown that investment in the railways was a top GOS priority.
Of a projected 10-year infrastructure budget of 250 billion
euros, almost 70 percent will be invested in railways, a
significant portion of which (125 billion euros) is for the
expansion of Spain's high speed train lines (AVE). The
parliamentarians explained that Spain's railway authority
(RENFE) would be adding high-speed routes to the north and
extending already-existing southern rail lines. Of
particular importance, they noted, was the long-awaited
construction of the AVE line connecting two of the most
important economic centers, Barcelona and Madrid, to be
completed by the end of 2007. In addition to the enormous
investment in the AVE lines, the parliamentarians mentioned
that Spain would invest 32 billion euros of the projected
infrastructure funds towards Spain's commuter trail line
system in addition to unspecified amounts to improve train
stations.

3. (U) Parliamentarian Maria Dolores Puig Gasol (Barcelona,
PSOE) commented that this remarkable investment would improve
Spain's lagging position in rail transport within the EU.
She noted that only 2 percent of travel and freight
transportation in Spain was being provided by railways
compared with 14 percent in the EU. Parliamentarian and
Deputy of the Infrastructure Committee, Jose Joaquin Martinez
(Cantabria, Partido Popular), added that improved rail
transport would open up more of the country to commerce and
travel, both domestically and with Portugal and France, and
would provide greater development opportunities to
traditionally neglected localities.

4. (U) In addition to their meeting with Spanish
parliamentarians, the CODEL met with officials from the
National Network for Spanish Railways (RENFE). RENFE
provided the CODEL with separate tours of Madrid's Atocha
station and the Zaragoza-Delicias train station two hours
north of Madrid. RENFE officials showcased their extensive
video-camera surveillance procedures and explained that both
stations relied on the presence of both police and canines to
prevent attacks. Although RENFE security advisors praised
the existing security measures, they admitted that the
measures could not definitively prevent passengers from
bringing explosives or deadly weapons aboard trains, similar
to what occurred during the March 11, 2004 terrorist attack
at Atocha station that killed 191 persons and injured
thousands more.

5. (U) The RENFE officials acknowledged that although
passengers traveling on the high speed AVE train must place
their baggage through an x-ray machine, these passengers were
not subject to searches of their person and could
theoretically hide material under their clothing.
Additionally, RENFE representatives explained that passengers
traveling on the commuter trains or "cercanias" were not
subject to baggage x-rays. RENFE officials cautioned,
however, that there was a fine line between imposing
additional security measures and making rail travel
inconvenient for passengers, and asserted that the measures
currently in place made the two stations very difficult
targets for would-be attackers.

6. (U) RENFE's biggest security hurdle, the security
officials opined, was not its system of searches, but the
lack of uniform security measures at train stations across
the country. Tomas del Riego Minco, Chief of Security for
RENFE-ADIF, explained that the security measures imposed at
Atocha and Zaragoza were unique and not applied to all
stations country-wide, making these other stations easier
targets. He added that Spanish laws limiting the use of
video surveillance footage was another hindrance that impeded

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long-term surveillance and intel capabilities of the
operations centers at Atocha and Zaragoza-Delicias stations.

7. (U) Comment: Though RENFE security officials admit to gaps
in security measures, they expressed confidence that the
measures currently in place at the prominent train stations
serve as a sufficient deterrent to prevent future attacks.
In fact, surveillance at both Atocha and Zaragoza stations
was extremely thorough and left little to the imagination.
In addition to security, expansion of the rail lines is a
significant priority for Spain. The GOS is placing
remarkable emphasis on the development of its rail lines,
going so far as to commit the majority of its projected
infrastructure funding to this end. In comparison, Spain is
only committing 6 percent of its infrastructure budget to air
transportation improvements and 25 percent to road
transportation.

8. (U) RENFE is a governmental agency that reports to the
Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works. The agency is
divided into two segments, RENFE ADIF which oversees train
stations and infrastructure of the railways, and RENFE
Operations which manages the rail trains and passenger
issues. In 2009, Spain will begin the process of
privatization of its trains as mandated by the EU. At that
point RENFE Operations will reduce some of its current
responsibilities, while RENFE ADIF will maintain its standing
as the manager of the railway lines and infrastructure.
AGUIRRE

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