Algarve rail users at the end of the line
Users of the Algarve’s railway service are having to put up with a daily service that is blighted with frequent cancellations.
The Algarve Line Passengers Committee is holding a public protest next Thursday, January 10, at Olhão railway station, “in defence of the Algarve Line, a fundamental infrastructure for the development of the region which faces one of the worst moments in its history.”
“In the last year, schedules were dropped and hundreds of trains were cancelled,” say the committee whose members face regular delays, the closure and abandonment of stations and the replacement of trains by coaches that make only half the stops,” claims the passengers action group.
“If, with the entry of each new year, expectations are bolstered so let’s make 2019 the year of a turnaround for the railway,” states the committee.
On the plus side, on Monday, January 7, the Government announced it will launch an international public tender for the acquisition of new rolling stock but whether any of these engines and carriages will make their way this far south, remains to be seen.
The last time the Algarve line’s rolling stock 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.