The Portuguese government unveiled on Wednesday a high-speed train project that will connect Lisbon to Porto, the country’s two main cities, in one hour and fifteen minutes after 2030, compared to almost three hours currently.
Portugal will have its TGV. In fact, the Portuguese government unveiled on Wednesday a high-speed train project that will connect Lisbon to Porto (north), the country’s two main cities, in one hour and fifteen minutes after 2030, up from almost three hours at present.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference in Porto that it was a “strategic project for the future of the country” that would promote “autonomy” and “competitiveness”.
This railway axis should eventually also enable the connection between Porto and Vigo in north-west Spain. This connection with Spain is “the first step towards integration into the Iberian high-speed network,” said Antonio Costa.
A first phase at 2.9 billion euros
The construction of this line will take place in three stages. Work on the first phase between Porto and Soure near Coimbra (centre) is scheduled to start in 2024, while the final section of around 40 kilometers north of Lisbon is planned after 2030.
For the first construction phase, the investment amounts to “around 2.9 billion euros”, including around “one billion euros of community funds”, said Carlos Fernandes, member of the board of directors of de Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), public manager of the rail and road network .
“The country now has the financial prerequisites to be able to carry out this project,” assured Antonio Costa and called for a broad “national consensus”.
This line, which is expected to accommodate around 16 million passengers in 2031 compared to the current six million, will also shorten the distances between the Portuguese capital and the country’s main cities such as Guarda (north) or Santarem (centre), according to the project presented Wednesday.
This announcement is obviously a great opportunity for train manufacturers. Portugal has not yet specified the structure of its tender for rolling stock, but two European players should position themselves.
CAF vs Alstom?
The Spanish CAF (which supplies Renfe (the national railway company) with its TGV called AVE on the Madrid-Seville route) has a card to play with the goal of connecting the Portuguese and Spanish networks.The Avelia Horizon (named TGV M at SNCF) – Image Alstom © Alstom
But the manufacturer is clearly challenged by France’s Alstom and its new Avelia Horizon (christened TGV M at SNCF), which is technically designed for use in Europe.
Above all, it has many advantages such as the modularity of the interior, a larger passenger capacity than previous generations (maximum 740 instead of 634 seats) and 20% lower energy consumption.
A strong argument for the increasingly sensitive travellers, but also for the operating costs of the organiser. Just like the 30% reduction in maintenance costs per train promised by the French.
Olivier Chicheportiche with AFP