The plans have already been published, and it is now possible to understand what kind of work will be carried out in Portugal, namely between Lisbon and Porto, on the so-called “Linha do Norte”.

Why is it necessary?

Linha do Norte, the train line between Lisbon and Porto, is the line where the highest number of trains circulate in the country, whether for freight trains or passengers. According to the Portuguese Government, 90 percent of the trains that transport goods, circulating in Portugal, travel through Linha do Norte. When it comes to passengers, more than 50 percent of the passengers in Portugal, also circulate between the Porto-Campanhã and Lisboa-Oriente stations.

Besides all the efforts, more trains cannot circulate on the line, and the only option that is left is to construct an alternative railway so that the offer increases and the population have a wider variety of train services circulating in that area.

What is the Government planning?

The works are divided into three different phases, which will be all concluded after 2030, meaning that the works will be carried out for more than six years.

The first phase, which may be concluded by 2028, includes the construction of a new railway between Porto and Soure, in the district of Coimbra. This phase will be divided into two sections, starting with the construction of a track between Porto and Oiã, in the Aveiro district. For this construction, an international public tender has already been started.

The second phase, which may be concluded by the end of 2030, aims to construct the part of the railway that goes from Soure to Carregado, in the Lisbon district.

The last phase of the construction of the high-speed railway will end with the construction of the trail from Carregado to the station of Lisboa Oriente, after 2030.

According to Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), a double railway will be created, so the trains may cross during the trip, without the need for stopping at crossing points.

The construction will use railways under the measure of Iberian gauge (1688 millimetres), as other long-trip trains, such as InterCidades and Alfa Pendular will be circulating on the new railway, making it possible to increase the offer in the other trains that circulate in Portugal. This measure may solve some of the train delays that many passengers complain about.

Where will the trains stop?

The main goal of the high-speed train is to make a direct trip, with no stops from Porto to Lisbon, and the other way around. However, some trains will make some stops during the trip. It is expected that some trains will stop in Vila Nova de Gaia, Aveiro, Coimbra and Leiria.

For the trains to stop at the mentioned cities, part of the plan is to restructure the train stations and create new ones when there is a need. Thus, Aveiro, Coimbra-B and Leiria stations will be restructured, so the high-speed train has the conditions to stop and to drop and receive passengers.

In Vila Nova de Gaia, in the Porto district, a new underground train station will be constructed in Santo Ovídio, where there is also a metro station. From Vila Nova de Gaia until Porto, the train will travel at a slower speed, as the terminal station (Porto-Campanhã) is closer.

How much time people will save with the high-speed train?

It is predicted that the high-speed train will be circulating at a maximum speed of 300 kilometres per hour, so it can compete with aerial traffic and also other alternatives, such as road transport.

As the trains will start circulating on the new railway following the construction phases, after phase one, the Porto Lisbon trip will be made in two hours, some 50 minutes less than the current travel time. After phase two there will be two different services operating with the high-speed train: one with no stops, and the other with four stops.

The direct trip will be made in 1 hour and 19 minutes, while the trip with stops in Aveiro, Coimbra-B and Leiria, will only take 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Besides all the advantages for the passengers, the Leiria population may have an extra benefit while making the trip to Lisbon, as currently a train trip from Leira to Lisbon can take more than four hours with four different trains.

Will the tickets be expensive?

The Portuguese Government cannot advance with this information, as the operation company of the high-speed trains has not yet been chosen, even though it is known that CP will participate in the public tender to operate the trains.

However, in a Q&A published by the Portuguese Government, it is expected that the prices applied in the high-speed trains will be similar to the ones people are used to paying while travelling by Alfa Pendular.

Other projects

Besides all the mentioned works planned to be carried out, IP informs that some other works will be done in Linha do Norte.

The railway, known as Linha do Oeste, in Leiria, will be duplicated so more trains may circulate at the same time. Similar works will be carried out from Alverca and Azambuja, in Lisbon and Taveiro and Coimbra-B, in Coimbra.

Will it ever be finished?

With the political crisis felt in Portugal, and Government changes, both the general population and ministers are eager to see the result of the projects that are already signed and being carried out.

António Costa, on 12 January, during the opening of the public tender advised future ministers to stick to the timetable and deadlines, so the population can use the new services as they were promised.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos