During a press tour Friday organized by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, a train containing the journalists and Transport Minister Anca Boagiu broke down, Realitatea.net reports. Boagiu invited the press to take a train trip to the mountains, unaware the brakes were out of order. This led to journalists filming how, in the 21th century, an engine is repaired using a tree branch, a piece of wire and some scotch tape, right before Boagiu’s eyes.
According to Realitatea reporter on board, the ministerial team hid from journalists how bad the malfunction was. It was only Saturday that experts with the Romanian rail operator CFR learned that travellers’ lives were jeopardized, as the train run with malfunctioning brakes. Even worse, the automotor train was 300,000 kilometres past its revision deadline. While the CFR officials say they lost their head given the minister was aboard the train, they nonetheless denied having used a tree branch to fix the brakes.
Transport Minister Boagiu blamed journalists for the incident, saying that it was a journalist actually who caused the train to stop by pressing a button. Experts however denied the allegation, saying there was no such thing as that kind of button. Moreover, the minister acknowledged she and the mass-media representatives came to an agreement over the incident not being published in the press. Boagiu was irked at the journalists making the incident public and the way the train was repaired.
Separately, the transport minister, while at a press conference in Husi, Saturday, aired her discontent at some construction companies failing to do their job, saying fines of nearly EUR 40 M were issued to road construction companies in the past couple of days, and EUR 24 M to Porr, the company in charge of upgrading the Prahova Valley railway, Mediafax reports. The revamp will result in the time length of a Bucharest-Predeal train trip being cut down to two hours, after the Campina-Predeal stretch will be completed in November of this year, over one year later than the scheduled deadline, reason for which Porr was fined.
Boagiu also invited the foreign construction companies failing to do their job to leave, ‘with the corresponding penalties”.