Portugese Railways to restore the Sud Express & Lusitânia sleeper services- without RENFE?

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jopsuk

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I realised I hadn't seen a post about this- there was a better article with pictures of carriages undergoing refurbishment but I can't find it. Text has been through Google Translate. Article is here, translated text below (as per rules).
Summary: CP have bought 51 coaches (not Talgo) from RENFE including sleepers and couchettes. They're negotiating regarding access rights- these remain in place for the Sud Express which was officially a CP train that used RENFE stock anyway, whilst the Lusitânia to Madrid was a RENFE service. The article mentions going beyond Hendaye to Paris, but that seems unlikely, I suspect it'll remain as it was with a transfer to a TGV there.
. Immortalized in books and films and in the memory of those who had the opportunity to try them, the Sud-Express trains, which go from Lisbon to Paris, and the Lusitânia, which makes the same route diverting to Madrid in Marina del Campo, were disabled because of the pandemic. Now, they may be reactivated by Portugal.
According to “ Expresso ”, the Spanish secretary general for Transport and Mobility, María José Rallo, admitted in early March that the two trains leaving Lisbon might possibly return to activity. Although the Spanish railway company Renfe said that the decision has not yet been completed, the progressive withdrawal of night trains at the expense of high-speed trains - which are said to be more profitable - may denounce the opposite. This opens up the possibility for Portugal to recover and manage Sud-Express alone.
"What is being studied by the Portuguese Government is to understand if it can put that connection in the public service contract", CP's director of Maintenance and Engineering, Carlos Barbosa, explained in a webinar on the Douro Line.
Among the 51 carriages that Portugal bought from Spanish neighbors, there are some that have bunk beds and that can be combined with other sleeping carriages that CP already has to do a new service. The idea is that there is an intercity that connects Lisbon to Vilar Formoso, from there to the border between Spain and France, in Hendaya, and then go on to Paris.
This whole operation should not be difficult, since, in the case of Sud-Express, only the carriages were Spanish, everything else belonging to CP. Regarding Lusitânia, although it was fully operated by Renfe, the Portuguese company will be able to “venture alone, after having recovered the rolling stock”, as explained by the specialist in transport economics, Manuel Tão.
Although these are hypotheses for the future, the Government has been trying to reach an agreement with the Spanish side, so that the new Lisbon-Madrid connection, which will be made from Sines to Elvas and should be ready in 2023 / is restored, 24. With this change the travel time will be reduced to five hours.
These issues could also be important if we think that by 2030 the European Commission wants to reduce air traffic because of pollution and noise, so the alternative could be traveling by train.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Marina del Campo?
Medina del Campo is a long way from the sea! ;)

Translators are not very good at railway pieces, with all the technical terms, abbreviations, tables and charts.
This is the first hint of passenger use for the new route to Portugal via Badajoz.
 

HS2isgood

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Marina del Campo?
Medina del Campo is a long way from the sea! ;)

Translators are not very good at railway pieces, with all the technical terms, abbreviations, tables and charts.
This is the first hint of passenger use for the new route to Portugal via Badajoz.
Even though at the beginning the service will take way more than five hours, as Plasencia-Madrid has no HSR yet and it's a little bit over three hours. About the Sudex/Lusitãnia, Madrid-Lisboa nned to have a service in the meantime, but the easiest way would be a daily IC to Salamanca.
 

Giugiaro

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Still very early to tell. If RENFE doesn't back down from their stance, CP will eventually go ahead and do it alone.

There are several issues though. Just to name a few:
  1. The company doesn't have rolling stock ready to go for an overnight train;
  2. It doesn't have any locomotives that can run under 3kV DC;
  3. None of the stock can run beyond the French border without relying on bogey replacements;
  4. Spain is converting the remaining Trenhotel Talgos into regular daytime trains, or scrapping then;
  5. The stock that the company still keeps can only go at 140km/h. The Spanish Corail Couchette and Arco Super Reclining, 160km/h. Far from the 200km/h of the Talgos;
  6. The service wasn't profitable and it is not considered a public service (no compensation from the government then);
  7. The run time is very long, even for an overnight train;

So far the media has stated that the future Sud Express will be an InterCity train with sleeper coaches attached, essentially running a daytime service up to Vilar de Formoso.
Considering the possibility of the gauge and traction issue somewhat solved on the Spanish and French territories, the train may run a daytime service between Bordeux and Paris.

In essence, the Sud Express will become two InterCity services (Lisbon-Vilar de Formoso and Bordeux-Paris), and a Sleeper between Vilar de Formoso and Bordeux.
The idea being that anyone that needs (and can cope with) travelling the whole length can do so, but anyone that wants to use the train during the day can use it at InterCity rates and in regular passenger coaches.

The government is also checking with the EU if the Public Service Contract with CP could be updated two include international connections.

The same goes for the Lusitania. Running with the Sudex up to Medina del Campo, then splitting to Madrid.


That being said, would anyone fancy a Portuguese train running your average InterCity between two French cities?
 

30907

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Still very early to tell. If RENFE doesn't back down from their stance, CP will eventually go ahead and do it alone.

So far the media has stated that the future Sud Express will be an InterCity train with sleeper coaches attached, essentially running a daytime service up to Vilar de Formoso.

In essence, the Sud Express will become two InterCity services (Lisbon-Vilar de Formoso and Bordeux-Paris), and a Sleeper between Vilar de Formoso and Bordeux.
Running as an IC in Portugal seems a good idea (using conventional stock once it can be procured or rebuilt!). Supposing it left Lisbon at 1830 (the present evening IC) and wasn't accelerated, it would reach San Sebastian/Hendaye at a civilised time and connect well for Paris.
There isn't a suitably timed morning IC from Guarda, but something like 1900 Hendaye, 0930 Lisbon would work.

Running through to Paris would almost certainly require a third set of stock, and the TGV would always be quicker. Bordeaux might be worth it - but until there is a lot more standard gauge between Medina and San Sebastian, I see little advantage in looking at dual-gauge stock anyway.
 

jopsuk

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Still very early to tell. If RENFE doesn't back down from their stance, CP will eventually go ahead and do it alone.

There are several issues though. Just to name a few:
  1. The company doesn't have rolling stock ready to go for an overnight train;
But they're refurbishing stock they've bought, for the purpose, at at the moment.
I'd expect it unlikely they'll run anything on the standard gauge, merely go back to how it was before connecting to SNCF TGV services
 
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