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Algarve rail line to be modernised by the end of 2020

trainThe omnipresent Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Pedro Marques has confirmed that the Algarve’s old world railway line is to be fully electrified, at a cost of €32 million.

The modernisation work starts this month but won’t be finished until at least 2020.

When saying "the work will start this month," the Minister of course was referring to the initial environmental impact studies and tendering specifications - we don’t want to rush things, after all.

The Tunes to Faro section of the line is the only part that currently is electrified, the other sections: east from Faro to Vila Real de Santo António and west from Tunes to Lagos, are served by diesel power units which are environmentally poor and expensive to run.

Infraestruturas de Portugal’s Carlos Fernandes, said the launch of the actual railway line work will take place in the 3rd quarter of 2018 and will take two years to complete.

Why it will take until now and the third quarter of 2018 to decide who gets the contract remains one of life’s mysteries but the minister still attempted to persuade his Portimão audience that this was a year ahead of schedule.

The electrification also requires a new substation to power the 56-kilometer section between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António. No supplier yet has been chosen for this small detail but there’s time enough to worry about that later.

The minister also launched a challenge to the Algarve’s mayors and the CCDR-Algarve, “After this cycle of investment in electrification, we will have to think about the work of connecting the railway to Faro Airport."

This is what Marques is good at, thinking about things - such as the imaginary EN125 roadworks that failed to restart last week despite the high-profile Lagos launch against a backdrop of impressive machinery and men in hard hats, neither of which were anywhere to be seen as soon as the photo opportunity was over.

He might like to think about the rolling stock on the Algarve's railway line. The last time this was replaced, it was with refurbished 1960s carriages despite government claims that they were new. In 2011, Comboios de Portugal announced that the Algarve’s railway line would be upgraded and revamped with the old rolling stock removed and replaced by 11 new trains. On arrival, these shiny new trains were proved to be from the 1960s and had been used in the north of Portugal since 2000. 

Marques’s latest excuse for doing nothing about a simple rail link to Faro airport is “the possible impact on the Ria Formosa” which must be the only time in living memory that a minister has expressed any concern at all over the Ria Formosa.



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0 #3 2sugersinmytea 2017-01-25 15:11
Well, at least it's SOME sign of progress!!!.
The Airport? - well if they don't make the connection what was the point of spending all that money, just to get thousands more travellers penned up near the exits????
+1 #2 Margaridaana 2017-01-23 14:11
Highly unlikely.
0 #1 Peter Dickinson 2017-01-22 20:21
Maybe it will be finished just in time for green energy driverless cars to become mainstream.
It would cost much less to purchase a fleet of public service vehicles (self drive) that run between all the stations AND the airport. The old line could be made into a walking/ cycling route giving a boost to tourism. (or used for the new vehicles). There could be a 24-hour frequent service. Cheaper, faster, all night, in service sooner and much greener.

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