It was then that the chopper dropped down out of the darkness on top of them. She heard the whump whump whump of the blades above her and to the rear and she raised her head, but she had to close her eyes and turn away because in that instant she was blinded by the white glare of a spotlight, and the end of a skid lighted by that glare that was swinging back and forth just above her head, forcing her to crouch down with her hands on Santiago’s shoulders. Under his clothes she felt his tense muscles, his back bowed over the wheel, and she saw his face illuminated in brief bursts from the spotlight swinging above them, all the bursts of spray that wet his face and hair.
At first we blamed Franco – well you would wouldn’t you? Who else would punish an impoverished region by failing to complete a railway that would have opened up the interior to trade and commerce with the cities on the coast because of the strength of republican resistance during the civil war? This apparent act of omission seemed typically cynical and nasty as the railway was nearly ready to go – the track bed was complete, along with numerous tunnels, viaducts, station buildings, platforms and goods sheds. All it needed was rails, signalling infrastructure and of course engines, trucks, carriages and staff.