The 10 greatest railway fails in Portugal from the last 10 years

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4 Nov 2011
Valongo - Portugal
The 10 greatest railway fails in Portugal from the last 10 years

It is very well known that Portugal is going through a very difficult situation. Recently this week, the Portuguese government decided to definitively cancel the Very High Speed project, resulting in what might be the biggest fail of all in the Portuguese railways.

From the last 10 years there where a group of initiatives that, or never ended up being put to practice, or were horribly applied, resulting in its consequent closure.

Here are the 10 greatest railway fails in Portugal from the last 10 years:

  • 1 - Very High Speed in Portugal

From the initial 3 lines to only one line of high performance in single track (250 km/h || 155 mph), the project ended up completely abandoned by this government.

  • 2 - Refurbishment works in the Tâmega and Corgo lines

This might be for sure the biggest lie to the Trás-os-Montes region in the last 10 years. The government closed two narrow gauges lines without prior notice, saying that there were going to be made urgent refurbishment works. Two years later it was announced that such works weren't going to be made, resulting in two dismantled lines.

  • 3 - Metro do Mondego

A broad gauge branch from Coimbra to Lousã was closed and dismantled in order to build a metropolitan system, much like the one made in Porto. Such project is now on hold and might be dropped.

  • 4 - Refurbishment of the Beira Baixa line between Covilhã and Guarda

A luxurious line completely refurbished but closed to service, since the final works in the last kilometres were dropped this year by the government. The alternative service by bus was also shut down.

  • 5 - Public tender for the acquisition of new rolling stock for CP Regional and Cascais Line

CP founded a tricky way to close a necessary public tender without having to pay compensations to the participants. Nowadays, the company decided to invest in second handed "Camellos" and keep its old "carts".

  • 6 - Reopening of the Pocinho - Barca d'Alva section

A lot of people were involved in this project since 2007. The ex-Transport State Secretary promised such project was going to be launched for touristic purposes. Since this new government was set, such project has never been heard again.

  • 7 - Leixões Line

This Porto "Overground" branch, when opened, never reached its final destination and most of its strategic stops were never been built. When the service was launched, there were 4 trains per hour in both directions, all day, too many trains for the stops offered. A year later, the line was close to passenger service by "huge losses of money".

  • 8 - Expansion of the Porto "Overground" service to Marco de Canaveses

This project was in hold since 2003 when the service was shortened to Caíde, were the line was electrified. In 2009, a project to broaden the tunnels and refurbish the line between Caíde and Marco de Canaveses was open, to finally replace the service. It was never implemented.

  • 9 - Vouga Line's Historic Train

An ex-Corgo Line Historic Train that CP tried to sell ominously to other museums of Europe without being noticed, when such project from the Portuguese National Railway Museum was made public.

  • 10 - Intercity to Beja

Basically they downgraded the service to a simple diesel regional service with booked seats and with no direct link to the capital.

So these are the 10 biggest fails of the Portuguese railways. Hope you enjoyed the show!
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RailUK Forums

Mike Williams

21 Jan 2012
central UK/Portugal
I thoroughly agree, it is the most inept railway mamagement i have ever had the misfortune to work with. It did not stop CP from buying a fleet of new mercedes-benz saloon cars for the directors though.
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And add to this:-

1) Sending historic rolling stock to china as scrap instead of selling them to other preservation societies.

2) Allowing EDP to sabotage the Tua line so that they could build a nice new shiney dam (barragem) and flood the Tua valley.
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