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Alfa Pendular train in Portugal
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Portugal is getting loads of swish new high-speed rail routes

A new line will cut journey times between Lisbon and Porto to just one hour and 15 minutes

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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The rail route between Lisbon to Porto is already the niftiest (and greenest) way of travelling between Portugal’s capital and its second city. The fastest trains currently take just under three hours to speed 209 miles (337 kilometres) up the Portuguese coast – and, excitingly, they’re be about to get even faster

Last Thursday (November 17) the Portuguese government announced ambitious country-wide infrastructure plans that will see the country’s top ten cities all boast high-speed rail connections. On top of that, the government wants to improve rail connections in local districts and build another crossing over the Tagus river. 

The new service could reach speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour, meaning that rail journey times between Lisbon and Porto could be cut down to just one hour and 15 minutes. Which is, by any measure, pretty bloomin’ speedy. 

The new Lisbon-Porto line will eventually wind all the way up to Vigo in Spain, creating a high-speed rail connection up the entirety of Iberia’s Atlantic coast. Set to cost at least €5 billion (£4.46 billion, $4.85 billion), the project is set to begin construction in 2024 and be completed by the early 2030s. The wider infrastructure project – including the new district connections and Tagus crossing – are set to be completed by 2050. 

The Lisbon-Porto rail route is currently served by Portugal’s nationwide high-speed train network the Alfa Pendular, as well as slower intercity lines. The primary reason the new line will be faster isn’t just because the trains will travel at higher speeds (the Alfa Pendular runs at around 200 kilometres per hour) but because new tracks are being built, therefore increasing the network’s capacity.

Which is all pretty thrilling, right? And Portugal’s new high-speed lines aren’t the only spectacular and ambitious rail project on the Iberian peninsula. Spain has recently launched a load of new high-speed rail routes and pledged to spend tens of billions of euros on rail infrastructure over the next decade. Viva the Iberian rail revolution!

Did you see that Barcelona’s train station is getting a spectacular glow-up?

Plus: Spain is making intercity trains free this autumn.

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