The Portuguese government is planning to introduce high-speed trains, a new railway bridge over the Tagus River, as well as to connect Lisbon and Porto in three hours by train from Madrid, projects which are expected to be completed by 2050.
According to the Portugal News, the National Railway Plan, which has already been approved by the Council of Ministers, will now be open for public discussion, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The plan includes high-speed trains in the ten largest Portuguese cities and rail connections in all districts.
Based on the preliminary plan, the new Chelas-Barreiro Bridge will reduce the connection between Lisbon, Alentejo, and the Algarve by at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, considering that currently, the journey time between Lisbon and Faro is two hours and 25 minutes – it could now take 30 minutes less if there is interference on the Torre Vã-Tunes section.
“This is a proposal for public discussion. In the end, it does not have to be exactly the same, and it is a planning instrument that will last through the following Governments, guaranteeing that it is not a short-term investment plan nor a financing plan for that investment, but allows us once again, to place the importance of the railway at the centre of the national debate,” the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing of Portugal Federico Francisco pointed out in this regard.
Among other things, the government is also studying the high-speed connection between Lisbon- Algarve, with two alternatives, including the modernisation of the existing line to reduce the ride by about 30 minutes.
Through the new rails and connections, Portugal aims to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.
Previously, a report by the Airports Council International (ACI Europe) has revealed that the CO₂ benefits of shifting short-haul flights to rail are limited, thus generating other environmental, social, and economic costs.
The same has emphasised that to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, it has been proposed to shift travel in Europe from air to rail.
As a result, ACI Europe said the change had been driven by massive investment in rail infrastructure, as well as taxes or even bans on short-haul flights in some countries.
Furthermore, in October, a call was made by the Association of 15 Portuguese and Spanish organisations, the Iberian Alliance for Railways, for these Spain and Portugal to improve rail travel between their countries. The Alliance has also added that these proposals are expected to be implemented next year.
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