THE trial of two men who are accused of being responsible for the death of 80 people in the 2013 Santiago de Compostela train disaster began in Santiago on Wednesday.

145 people were also injured when the high-speed Alvia train went off the track on a bend and hit a wall before bursting into flames.

The hearings in Santiago’s cultural centre are expected to last for months with around 700 people- witnesses and experts- expected to give evidence.

Train driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, and a former safety head at rail line company Adif, Andres Cortbitarte, have been charged with 80 counts of manslaughter, along with 145 injury offences and a single charge of damages.

Prosecutors want the men jailed for four years and to be disqualified from working again in similar jobs.

The Rail Accident Investigation Commission ruled the accident was caused by speeding and that driver Garzon was distracted because he was on his mobile phone.

Garzon’s lawyer, Manuel Prieto, said there were safety issues on the rail track- a view shared by one of the victim support groups, who jointly blame the driver and Adif.

Andres Cortbitarte told parliamentarians four years ago that he bore no responsibility for safety issues on the Santiago stretch of the rail network.

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