grayscale photograph of train rail

Portugal without international long-distance trains for four years | Público (PT)

You can get from London to Paris by train in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The roughly 460-km journey by car would otherwise take twice the time, about five-and-a-half hours.

There are overnight trains connecting Berlin and Stockholm, Zurich and Zagreb, Berlin and Brussels, Rome and Venice. The list goes on.

You used to be able to get from Lisbon to Madrid by train, too. It wasn’t great — you could do the roughly 620 km between the two capitals in about 6 hours by car, but the train took longer: instead of going directly west-to-east or vice versa, it veered way up to the north first. But it was a nice train, with a well-stocked bar car, and you could pay for a higher-class ticket and get your own cabin, with a shower.

But even that train stopped running in 2020, during the pandemic, and was never restarted.

Público tried to find out whether a Lisbon-Madrid train was ever coming back, prompted in part, it appears, by a statement from the Portuguese Association of Friends of Railways (APAC) in which the group said it hoped that “the next government and [Comboios de Portugal] will fulfill the public commitment made to replace these strategic services, with utmost urgency.”

The newspaper asked the Ministry of Infrastructure for a comment on the situation, which replied that “the statement [from APAC] is intended for the next government.”

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