CP will change their timetables on the East Line so that travel between the two Iberian capitals takes an hour and a half less than it currently does. Even so, the rail journey between Lisbon and Madrid will take longer than it did in 1989.

According to a report by ECO, from 31 July onwards, three trains will be needed, instead of four, to complete the journey between Lisbon and Madrid, taking the total travel time down to eight hours and 48 minutes; on the reverse route, the journey will take nine hours and 30 minutes.

Which trains do you need to catch?

To get from Lisbon to Madrid by train, travellers need to take the Intercidades from Santa Apolónia at 12:30 pm, arriving at Entroncamento at 1:30 pm. It is from Entroncamento that, six minutes later, the regional train leaves for Badajoz, arriving at 17:26 (Spanish time). In Spanish, at 5:36 pm, the Renfe Intercity train leaves, arriving at 10:18 pm at the Madrid-Chamartín station.

From the Spanish capital to the Portuguese capital, the Intercity train leaves Chamartín at 8:30 am (Spanish time), arriving at Badajoz at 1:24 pm. At 1:40 pm, the CP regional train follows, arriving at Entroncamento at 3:40 pm. 20 minutes later, the Intercidades leaves Entroncamento and ends its journey in Santa Apolónia at 5:00 pm.

Despite the change in timetables, CP will continue to run the regional train Entroncamento – Badajoz with an Allan diesel railcar, originally manufactured in the 1950s in the Netherlands, remodelled in the 1990s and with a maximum speed of 100 km/h.

The main progress in the journey time has been made on the Spanish side. With the opening of the new section between Badajoz and Plasencia and the journey between the Spanish border city and the capital will take 51 minutes less. The gains are no longer expressive because this link – which will be part of the Lisbon-Madrid high-speed line – is not yet electrified.

Lisbon to Madrid in 1989

With the Lusitânia night train no longer being in operation since the beginning of Covid-19, the railway connection between Lisbon – Madrid has been cut to four day trains, with a total travel time of ten hours and 30 minutes.

From 31 July, traveling by train will take an hour and a half less however this is not considered to be a great improvement, mainly due to the fact that in 1989, the same journey could be made with the direct Talgo Luís de Camões train in seven hours and 58 minutes (Lisbon – Madrid) and seven hours and 50 minutes in the opposite direction.

The journey between the two Iberian capitals may become faster from the end of 2023, when the section between Évora and Elvas is completed, which will allow trains to travel at 250 km/h. This will mean that under normal conditions, it will take five hours by train to travel between Lisbon and Madrid.