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An Alfa Pendular in Santa Apolónia Station, Lisbon.

The government of Portugal plans to build a high-speed rail line from Lisbon to Madrid. 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.[1] The line would link to Spain's Southwest Corridor.

Contents

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 220 kilometres per hour (140 mph).

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 Amadora. Fiat Ferroviaria was the main contractor, with Siemens AG and ADtranz as subcontractors.

In addition to these high-speed trains, CPInterCity "corail" coaches have been upgraded to 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph) running. These are hauled by CP 5600 locomotives (identical to the Spanish RENFE Class 252).[2] These "corail" coaches are based on French SNCF Corail cars but their carbody is made out of stainless steel, manufactured at the SOREFAME plant.

Infrastructure

The Northern Line was modernized to allow trains to run at 220km/h between Lisbon-Alverca, Vila Franca de Xira-Santarem , Pombal-Alfarelosand Mealhada-Espinho, and to allow full use of the tilting to achieve speeds between 140-180km/h in the remaining intermediate sections. Work is underway to continue to bring these intermediate stretches up to standards.

The Southern Line was modernized to allow trains to run at 220km/h between Lisbon-Pinheiro and Grândola-Funcheira; work is underway in a new variant between Pinheiro-Grandola to allow seamless 220km/h running all the way from Lisboa to Funcheira (150km). Alfa Pendular trains with their top speed of 220km/h are in fact the only reason the top speed is 220km/h. The tilting trains run in most slower sections at 20/40 km/h above conventional trains speeds. On high speed sections conventional trains run at 200km/h and Tilting trains at their 220km/h top speed. The true speed limit on these long sections is well above 220km/h.

Trains run hourly between Lisbon and Porto, most being Alfa Pendular (2 stops at Coimbra and Aveiro), other Alfa Pendular and some InterCity (wich loco hauled 200km/h trains with 5/14 cars) call at 6 to 9 intermediate stops. Additionally Intercity trains run north to Guimarães , a couple of Alfa Pendular run north to Braga and others go down the south line to service Faro , wich is served by two Porto - Lisboa - Faro Alfa Pendulars and tree Lisbon - Faro InterCity (limited to 160km/h due to the refurbished sorefame coaches used on the route).

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 (fr) (350km/h mixed traffic HSL expected to be complete by 2013[3]) bringing the countries' capital cities within three hours of each other (less than 2h45 expected).
  • from Porto to Vigo (250km/h mixed traffic new line between Braga and the border) which will connect both extremes (Porto and Vigo) in less than 45 minutes, would link to Vigo-Santiago de Compostela (es).

Status of upgrades

On December 12th, 2009, the Portuguese Ministry of Public Work, Transport and Communications announced the Elos consortium has been awarded a 40 year contract to build, finance and maintain the first section of the high speed line from Poceirão to the Spanish border, Caia. The route's length is 165km. Construction will begin after final signatures in March, 2010, later in the year. Completion is expected by the end of 2013.[4]

References

See also

External links








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