The Algarve will have to wait longer than anticipated for the arrival of electrification on the regional railways between Tunis and Lagos, and between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António, reports the Jornal de Notícias, in its printed edition.
According to this national newspaper, “it is not until the second quarter of 2023 that the work will be completed, which is a delay of almost two years”. The fault, the journal points out, “is the environmental impact assessment to which the two track sections will be subjected to”, an assessment that was not originally foreseen.
JN revealed in its edition earlier today that “priority rail works have been cancelled or postponed’, especially in the north and centre of the country. But this situation also affects the Algarve region. In total, says the newspaper, “Infrarestruras de Portugal (IP) has delayed or postponed 18 planned works that are part of the Railroad 2020 program, presented in February 2016, which is worth two billion euros in total.”
One of the planned works, the electrification of the Douro Line, between Marco de Canaveses and Régua, was also abandoned, despite it being a high priority issue. In the case of the Algarve region, the Algarve Line electrification works were announced last year at the beginning of 2019.
Carlos Fernandes, Vice-President of Infrastructures of Portugal, was at the Coordination and Regional Development Commission in Faro in April of 2018, where he announced the startint date of the work and that the railway intervention update would cost 57 million euros.
At the time, the IP official said that after the electrification projects were put forward and approved, the company see if there would be a need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be done with the Portuguese Environment Agency, which they admitted last year could delay the progress of the railway update. This is what happened, the APA demanded an EIA be done to assess the environmental impact of the works, and thus the deadline slipped back considerably.