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National railway upgrade project fails to leave the station

Published on 31/01/2019

Transport Minister, Pedro Marquês, presented 20 projects. his national railway network improvement plan, in February 2016. By now, eight should have been completed and 11 being worked on – a triumph for investment in Portugal’s infrastructure, if the timetable has been anywhere near adhered to.

The results are that six projects are being worked on and nothing actually has been completed, a success rate of under 9% for the Ferroria 2020 investment programme that is dogged by delays and the suspicion of official foot-dragging.

Of the €2.7 billion announced by the Government to modernise Portugal’s decrepit railway network by the end of 2020, there are ongoing investments of €158 million, an implementation rate of 7%.

If the €675 million budget is reduced for the new Aveiro-Mangualde line, rejected twice by the European Commission for lack of profitability, the modernisation programme total is €2 billion so the implementation rate is 8.8%.

Of the six projects underway, the most advanced is the modernisation of the Minho line, budgeted at €86.2 million and expected to be completed in 2018, which has ended.

The Socialist government’s grand railway plan was to intervene in 1,193 kilometres of the railroad network – 214 kilometres of new line and 979 kilometres of upgrade. So far, not a new kilometer of new line has been built.