High-speed trains in the 10 largest Portuguese cities, a new railway bridge over the Tagus River, connections in all districts and Lisbon and Porto three hours by train from Madrid are the various projects announced by the Government and which should be concluded by 2050.

Now the National Railway Plan approved by the Council of Ministers will be open to public discussion.

Pedro Nuno Santos explains that “this is a proposal for public discussion, in the end it does not have to be exactly the same, [...] and it is a planning instrument that will last”, through the following Governments, guaranteeing that it is not a short-term investment plan, nor a financing plan for that investment, but allows us, “once again, to place the importance of the railway at the centre of the national debate”.

“We need to have a National Railway Plan that we know will take decades to implement, but which must be a common compass for us to know the direction in terms of railway investment”, said the prime minister, noting that it is not a “closed proposal” and inviting everyone to participate in its discussion “so that we have a more thoughtful, more pondered, more consensual plan, the best step so that, from a plan, we can begin the work”.

Grand plans

On the table is a new intercity axis between Lisbon and Valença 'with frequent services', new services between Porto and Lisbon passing through the borders and the West Line, the return of the direct Intercity train between Lisbon and Beja and also the extension of the Intercity train to Portalegre.

The idea is for the train to return to the districts of Viseu, Vila Real and Bragança and, for this, the document proposes the construction of a line between Aveiro and Vilar Formoso, passing through Viseu and Guarda. This line would serve as an alternative to the current Beira Alta Line, which is being modernised under Ferrovia 2020.

Vila Real and Bragança will also be able to have train services with the construction of the new Trás-os-Montes Line, however, the document recalls that for the line to be competitive with the car, it must allow for the Porto-Vila Real journey in less than one hour and Porto-Bragança in less than two hours.

New Lisbon bridge

The construction of the third bridge over the Tagus in Lisbon is also planned. The Chelas-Barreiro bridge will reduce the connection between Lisbon and the Alentejo and Algarve by at least 30 minutes and also benefits the rail connection from Barreiro and Moita to the capital. And, in addition, it will be possible to connect Lisbon to Évora, with an Intercity train, within an hour and the capital to Beja in 1h25. Eventually, it will also be possible to put Lisbon at 1h45 from the border (Elvas). Between Lisbon and Faro, the rail journey would take two hours and 25 minutes – and it could even take 30 minutes less if there are interventions on the Torre -Tunes section.

The Lisbon - Algarve high-speed connection is also being studied, with two alternatives, which include the modernization of the existing line to reduce the journey by about 30 minutes, or a new axis that includes Évora, Beja and Faro, with travel time Lisbon - Faro in less than two hours.