Currently travel times between Lisbon and Porto vary from one hour on a plane to over three hours by car, bus or train.

"What we are doing here is opening up lines for the future", said prime minister, António Costa, at the presentation of the high-speed route between Lisbon, Porto and Vigo. This line is the first step towards insertion in the Iberian network and will make Lisbon and Porto “one hour and 15 minutes away”, stressed the head of the Government.

"This line will be fully integrated with the rest of the national rail network. The cities [of Porto and Lisbon] will be served at the central stations", said Carlos Fernandes, from the Board of Directors of Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), during the presentation that took place in Campanhã, Porto.

António Costa said that this project "is a practical translation of two major strategic options" defined in 2015. "Portugal has to be at the forefront in the fight against climate change", he said, referring to the first strategic option, saying that it is not enough to set goals, concrete actions are also needed. And to fulfil this objective, "it is essential to make a strategic change to public transport", highlighting "the great investment in rail".

“Absolutely decisive"

With regard to the second strategic option, "the vision we have for our country and our development strategy", Costa indicated that it has two objectives: "strengthening internal cohesion and strengthening our external competitiveness". That is why this high-speed line "is absolutely decisive", reinforced the prime minister.

"This is a project that unites the country, serves the whole country and reinforces the Atlantic façade that allows us to project ourselves in the world and to perform our historical function, which is to be the interface between the continent and the huge Atlantic world".

The head of the Government stressed that, with the development of this high-speed route, "We are not going to just stick with the two closest metropolitan areas - and this is essential for us to be able to have a competitive dimension on an Iberian scale - the whole country will be served ". This is because, he added, "this line will not only run high-speed trains, but also trains serving the rest of the country."

António Costa said, Lisbon and Porto will be “one hour and 15 minutes” apart, but the city of Guarda will have “much less travel time towards Porto or towards Lisbon”.

According to Costa, "this connection between Porto and Vigo is the first step towards our integration into the Iberian high-speed network". An integration that "develops our country and reinforces the centrality and autonomy of our country".

“Essential” project

"From my point of view, this is a project that is essential to respond to the development needs of our country, but, above all, it is of enormous potential for the future of our country's future".

António Costa also said that, “fortunately, the country has the financial conditions today” to take on this project, “with the peace of mind that there will be no surprises that jeopardise it”.