Lisbon Metro on “go slow” due to lack of emergency brakes

Rail unions claim lives are at risk due to the lack of security brakes on Lisbon’s cash-strapped underground trains – but their bosses have made light of the issue, simply reducing train speed by 15 km/ hour.
The problem – all down to lack of available cash – has already lead to a number of incidents where trains have overshot the platform at Marquês de Pombal station – in one case, demolishing a wall.
Fectrans – the federation of transport unions – claims passenger safety is being compromised. They claim the lack of emergency brakes has not been dealt with despite their alerts as the Metro administration has been “saving 300 thousand euros a year” since 2011, when it stopped its maintenance contract with Siemens.
Since then, routine maintenance work has fallen by the wayside, union boss José Manuel Oliveira told Correio da Manhã paper.
“In this current situation of disinvestment, we could easily have safety problems”, he added.
Talking to Lusa however, the Metro’s maintenance director Jorge Ferreira guaranteed that trains were circulating in “total safety”.
“The Metro has various braking systems at work”, he said. “We detected a mechanical problem in one of the systems – but it is a redundant system, thus trains are able to circulate in total safety”.
Nonetheless, Ferreira added that the maximum speed for trains has now been reduced from 60 km/hour to 45 km/ hour “for safety reasons”.
Following news stories on the situation in a number of papers, the Metro administration has now guaranteed that it will be dealt with “in the next few months”.