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The government of Portugalmarker plans to build a high-speed rail line from Lisbonmarker to Madridmarker. The €7.8 billion plan, announced in February 2009, is part of an effort to stimulate the country's economy. The government argued that the plan would create 100,000 jobs. The line would link to Spain's Southwest Corridor.

Current operations

Since the late 1990s Comboios de Portugal (CP) has run the Alfa Pendular service, connecting Portugal's mainland from the north border to the Algarve at a speed of up to .

The service is operated using 10 Italian-designed Pendolino tilting trains. Based on the Italian ETR 480, trains were assembled in Portugal at the former SOREFAME/Adtranz plant in Amadoramarker. Fiat Ferroviaria was the main contractor, with Siemens AG and ADtranz as subcontractors.

In addition to these high-speed trains, some InterCity "corail" coaches have been upgraded to running. These are hauled by CP class 5600 locomotives (identical to the Spanish RENFE Class 252). These "corail" coaches were based on French SNCF Corail cars, with their stainless steel carbody, which were also adapted at the SOREFAME plant.

Infrastructure

The Northern Line was modernized to allow trains to run at 220km/h between Lisbon-Alvercamarker, Vila Franca de Xiramarker-Santarem and Mealhada-Espinho, and to allow full use of the tilting to achieve speeds between 180-220km/h in the intermediate sections between Entroncamento-Alfarelos. Work is underway to continue to connect these isolated stretches.

The Southern Line was modernized to allow trains to run at 220km/h between Lisbon-Pinheiro and Grândolamarker-Funcheira; work is underway in a new variant between Pinheiro-Grandola.Alfa Pendular trains run in most sections at 20/40 km/h above conventional trains speed limits.

Trains run hourly between Lisbon and Porto, most being Alfa Pendular (2 stops at Coimbra and Aveiro) and some InterCity (loco hauled 200km/h trains with 8/10 intermediate stops).Additionally Intercity trains run north to Guimarães and a couple of Alfa Pendular run north to Braga.Southern line is serviced by two Porto - Faro Alfa Pendulars and four Lisbon - Faro InterCity (160km/h loco hauled trains).

Future plans

In 2005 the Portuguese government approved the construction of three high-speed lines:
  • from the capital Lisbon to Porto (300km/h new HSL expected to be finished in 2015). The two biggest cities of Portugal will be at a distance of a 1h15 train trip.
  • from Lisbon to Madrid (350km/h mixed traffic HSL expected to be complete by 2013) bringing the countries' capital cities within three hours of each other (less than 2h45 expected).
  • from Porto to Vigomarker (250km/h mixed traffic new line between Braga and the border) which will connect both extremes (Porto and Vigo) in less than 45 minutes.


References

  1. "Portugal to press on with Madrid-Lisbon high-speed train link", by Elisabete Tavares, The Guardian/Reuters, 6 Feb. 2009
  2. http://www.railfaneurope.net/list/portugal/portugal_cp-uvir.html
  3. http://www.rave.pt/tabid/233/Default.aspx Alta Velocidade em Síntese


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