The Algarve railways present conditions are not appreciated by the population. The low frequency of trains and even the conditions of the locomotives are some of the reasons that led to the creation of Movimento + Ferrovia.
Developing the railroad
Cristina Grilo is the founder and coordinator of Movimento + Ferrovia (MMF) and told The Portugal News that the group was founded in October 2018 with the aim of defending and valuing the Algarve railroad. The project includes “technicians and scholars with industry knowledge and experience.”
If the Algarve aims to have a “balanced and sustainable development”, to match the level of development of other Portuguese regions, the founder of the MMF says that the investment must be made “in the realisation of this very important dehydrate for mobility and transport.”
The MMF states that the electrification of the Algarve Line is one of the most important points to consider, however it is not the only problem. The modernisation of the Algarve line and train fleet would also need some adjustments.
Changes to be made
Cristina Grilo mentions that “lighter trains, adapted to suburban transport” should be purchased, as well as increasing the frequency of trains running, increasing the crossing points along the route. In the opinion of the founder of the MMF, new stations should be opened, “increasing the proximity of access to the populations.” The intermodality of the stations should also be considered, such as, building car parks, “including cycling”, close to the stations. Intermodality would also be achieved if municipalities adapted public road transport, in a route between the stations and the final destination.
For example, the Alcantarilha - Praia de Armação de Pêra stop, despite its name, is located five kilometres away from Alcantarilha and over eight kilometres from Armação de Pêra. However, as there is no public transport to facilitate the population's arrival at their final destination, personal road transport ends up being the most used.
To date, the MMF has already prepared a “Strategy Proposal for the Algarve Railway 2050” and, according to Cristina Grilo, they have already contacted practically all the municipalities served by the Algarve Line and responsible for entities such as AMAL. The ministers and secretaries of State, responsible for the portfolio of “Planning and Infrastructure, Development and Cohesion, Environment and Energy Transition, Transport and Mobility” were also contacted. When questioned to The Portugal News, the founder of MMF reveals that “formally, there has been no feedback” and that the Government's decisions are currently awaited. The group has an informal character, as such “the supporters of the MMF are all” those who follow the movement's activities through social media or formalise a request by email.