EIB funding for Porto-Lisbon HSR

high-speed rail between Porto and Lisbon

The EIB Board of Directors approved on June 20, 2024, a EUR 5 billion investment to improve rail transport across Europe and port infrastructure in Cape Verde, including the construction of the high-speed rail between Porto and Lisbon.

EUR 3 billion is the EIB finance, of the total cost of EUR 6.1 billion of the entire project to build the high-speed line between the two cities. The first phase covers the construction of a 143 km rail section between Porto-Campanhã station, in the municipality of Porto, Coimbra (125 km south of Porto) and Soure (30 km south-east from Coimbra). The loan will also finance the construction of 47 km in five single-track connections with conventional network to ensure accessibility to other cities in the north of Portugal.

The Phase 1 of Porto-Lisbon HSR will be implemented through two PPP contracts with availability payments for the sections Porto – Oiã and Oiã – Soure, with approximately 70 km each and with 5 stations in total. For the first section Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) launched the tender in January 2024 in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as well as various contracts under traditional procurement for signalling, stations and some other singular structures. According to the Portuguese Government, the works are estimated at EUR 1.95 billion.

Infraestruturas de Portugal says that the implementation of the first phase a EUR 3.9 billion investment is needed, of which EUR 1.98 billion for the Porto – Oiã section with EUR 480 million to be covered by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), while EUR 1.9 billion is the value of the Oiã – Soure section with EUR 395 million to be delivered through the CEF.

In August 2023, Infraestruturas de Portugal has announced that the first section of the high-speed line will be implemented in public-private partnership, as was agreed with the Government.

The Porto – Oiã rail section features 11.6 km of tunnels, 2.8 km of viaducts and 9.5 km of bridges including the bridge over the Douro River, between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. This section has the highest costs due to the needed tunnels and viaducts. According to the project, the design and construction of Phase 1 of Porto-Lisbon HSR will be implemented from 2024 to 2028 with construction expected to be launched in 2025.

Associated works for the new high-speed line include complementary projects such as quadrupling of the Northern Line between Alverca and Azambuja and between Taveiro and Coimbra B, the modernisation of the same line between Braço de Prata and Sacavém, the duplication of the Western Line in the vicinity of Leiria station, the adaptation of current stations from Porto-Campanhã, Aveiro, Coimbra B, Leiria and Lisbon-Oriente to high-speed services and the construction of the Oriente technical facility, to be located in Braço de Prata.

The construction for the second phase of the project between Soure and Carregado would be launched in 2027 followed by the final section of the project between Carregado and Lisbon with works scheduled after 2030.

The new high-speed rail between Porto and Lisbon will have 336 km of tracks and it was proposed for time travel reduction between the two cities from 2 hours and 50 minutes currently to less than one hour. The project will also determine the capacity increase on Northern Line – which will serve for freight and regional services, and suburban rail networks of particularly in Porto and Lisbon.

The Porto-Lisbon high-speed railway is part of country’s 2050 rail strategy which says that rail transport modernisation and development needs a EUR 10.5 billion investment from 2021 to 2030 which covers 16 new projects and programmes as well as the completion of the ongoing projects implemented under the Ferrovia 2020 programme.

The new rail plan also includes the development of high-speed rail connectivity with Spain completing the route between Lisbon and A Coruña, in Spanish region of Galicia. Another high-speed rail connection between the two countries covers the construction of the line from Aveiro to Vilar Formoso (at the border with Spain).

Another project that will ensure high-speed transport services between Portugal and Spain includes the Évora – Elvas line which is currently modernised to allow trains operate at 250 km/h. This will allow the connection between Lisbon and Madrid thorough the Spanish 150 km Badajoz – Plasencia high-speed line inaugurated in 2022.

The National Railway Plan until 2050 underlines the importance of rail market share increase for both passenger and freight sectors. For passenger sector, the plans highlights a 15.4% increase, from 4.6% currently to 20% while the rail freight market share should increase by 27% from 13% currently to 40%.

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