The recently revived plans for a high-speed rail connection between Portugal’s two main cities, Lisbon and Porto, would cut travel times in half, according to Railway Technology.
The current travel time is around three hours or more, but the high-speed version would slash that to about one hour 15 minutes, the publication writes.
“It is a revolution in the structure of the territory and in the of personal, family and economic relationships that can be established,” Pedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese minister of infrastructure and housing, said at the Portugal Railway Summit 2021 in January, according to the publication.
The high-speed rail link is expected to cost €4.5 billion, or close to half of the $10 billion railway investment as budgeted under the government’s National Investment Programme 2030. It requires changing the spacing of the rails from the Iberian gauge to a European one — which will let trains travel at up to 300 km/h — but also new bridges over the Douro and Tagus rivers.
Is there hope that the project will actually go forward? The idea dates back to 1999, when it was first introduced during the government of Antonio Guterres between 1995 and 2000, Railway Technology writes. It was abandoned shortly after, picked up again in 2008 under the government of José Sócrates, and dropped once again because of the global financial crisis, according to the publication.