Tuesday 21 October 2014
News from UIC Members

Portugal: The Strategic Plan for Transport and Infrastructure foresees investments of 2.8 billion euros in the railway sector up to 2020

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With the beginning of the new EU funding programme for 2014-2020, and the end of the economic and financial assistance programme for Portugal, a framework of strategic guidelines for the transport sector for 2014 to 2020 has had to be drawn up. This framework is based on continuing reforms and on the recovery of public investment, using sustainability criteria, and with a view to creating value for Portuguese companies and the Portuguese economy.
In this context, the Strategic Plan for Transport and Infrastructure 2014-2020 (PETI3+), approved by the Portuguese government in April 2014, outlines a set of structural reforms to be undertaken in the sector, as well as the set of investments in transport infrastructure to be implemented within the scope of the new Community Support Framework 2014-2020.

Investment Priorities

The Plan defines a group of top priority reforms which seeks to allocate public resources to the projects which ensure the highest added value, whilst subject to strict requirements of economic and financial sustainability.
In these terms, PETI3+ establishes six high-priority development areas for 2014-2020, coinciding with the main corridors of the National Plan for Spatial Planning and the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks in Europe), in which the investment projects to be undertaken during the period in question are integrated:

Corridors Global investment (M€) Investment in the railway sector (M€)
Atlantic Seaboard 2.435 734
North International 1.765 980
South International 840 800
Algarve 131 55
Interior 766 70
Passenger PublicTransport 755 160
Total 6.692 2.799

The railway sector represents approximately 42% of the total investment estimated for 2014-2020, thus recognising that important railway sector constraints still remain despite the significant development of transport infrastructures undertaken in the past decades, mostly in the road sector.
The main objectives outlined in the railway investments package of PETI3+ are the elimination of the country’s international connectivity constraints and the promotion of its interoperability and sustainability.

The Portuguese railway network aims to become totally electrified with 25 kV tension and equipped with control-command and signalling systems according to the European standards (ERTMS/ETCS), with the main freight corridors made interoperable and prepared for the operation of 750 metre-long trains, carrying 1,400 tonne loads in simple traction.

Main Projects and Objectives

Among the main railway projects are the connections to the border with Spain, namely the modernisation of the Minho Line (Porto-Valença), the Porto/Aveiro-Vilar Formoso connection (through the Beira Alta Line) and the Sines/Setúbal/Lisboa-Caia connection, which will contribute to the country’s international connectivity and the promotion of interoperability.

The modernisation of the Minho Line aims to reinforce the mobility of people and goods in Portugal’s regions of Greater Oporto and Upper Minho and provide more mobility with the Spanish region of Galiza.

The goal is to increase the passenger and freight railway transport quota along the Porto-Vigo axis, primarily through increasing the railway transport competitiveness and reducing the connection time between the cities of Oporto and Vigo to about two hours. The work will be undertaken in conjunction with Spain, guaranteeing the railway interoperability along the corridor.

The Porto/Aveiro-Vilar Formoso connection project (through the Beira Alta Line) aims to reinforce the railway connection of the north and centre of Portugal with Europe in order to provide an efficient rail freight service.

Work will be undertaken to eliminate constraints in the infrastructure of the Beira Alta Line, and a wye will be built between this line and the Northern Line as a means of guaranteeing the direct circulation of traffic with origin/destination to the north of Pampilhosa Station. The work, which will ensure railway interoperability of the corridor at national, Iberian and European levels, will be undertaken in conjunction with Spain.

The purpose of the Sines/Setúbal/Lisboa-Caia connection is to reinforce the railway connection to the Sines port, in order to increase its attractiveness as a gateway to Europe, especially the Iberian Peninsula. Its hinterland will be broadened and it will be joined to other connections to the Lisbon and Setúbal ports. This connection will also enable environmental gains to be made, through the creation of an alternative, sustainable means of transport, and the reinforcement of the external connectivity of the territory.

The Sines-Caia project encompasses the construction of new sections of railway and the modernisation of some of the existing sections, in a corridor which should provide railway interoperability conditions at national, Iberian and European levels. All modernisation and new construction work will enable future change to be made to the European standard gauge, in conjunction with Spain.

(Source: REFER)

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