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High-Speed Train: The Future of Transports

Since comfort, safety and speed are paramount factors in the smooth operation of public transports, the issue of rail transport has gained a very pertinent weight in its evolution, worldwide.

Increasingly, there is a need to (re)invest in rail transport, more precisely in high-speed trains. Why high-speed trains? The growth of these trains arises not only in the Iberian Peninsula, but also worldwide, due to the need to valorize this means of transportation, as well as to compete and be an option, when compared to air, sea and other land transportation, which are quite developed nowadays.

Countries such as the United States of America and China, as well as European countries such as France, Holland, Germany and Spain are in the front line, regarding the start-up and continuous operation of high-speed trains, reaching up to 300 km/hour.

High-Speed Train on the Iberian Peninsula: Portugal – Spain Route

The ambitious idea of a high-speed train connection between Portugal and Spain, more precisely between Lisbon and Madrid, is increasingly present between the Portuguese and Spanish governments. Although it is an idea that has yet to be realized – it is pointed to the end of the decade, starting in 2030 -, the potential for this is strongly recognized, by the countries that make up the Iberian Peninsula, as well as throughout the European Union.

Spain is one of the European countries that is at the forefront when it comes to the operation of high-speed trains, with the Spanish high-speed railway being the AVE. This key point becomes very beneficial for Portugal, since the existence of this train in Spain will facilitate, at all levels, the development of this connection between the capitals of Portugal and Spain.

The interest of Spanish companies in the bet of building a high-speed train in Portuguese territory has emphasized and “accelerated” the potential formalization of the bilateral project in favor of high-speed trains. Companies such as Iryo, ACS, Ferrovial, Sacar, FCC, OHLA, Acciona and Comsa are the Spanish companies that stand out in the bidding race for this project. Since the estimated investment for this project is eleven billion euros and the tender is divided into three phases, the goal of these Spanish companies is to create consortiums with Portuguese construction companies in order to strengthen business relationships, as well as show the seriousness of their interest.  

At the same time, the European Commission strongly supports this high-speed connection and has done everything in its power to push this implementation forward, by facilitating means of contacts between the countries in question that are part of the European Union, as well as by clarifying European legislation and supporting ongoing projects. The project Connecting Europe by train: 10 EU pilot services to boost cross-border rail sponsored by the European Commission presents ten initiatives to bring Europe closer together for greater and better transportation. One of the initiatives chosen by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG-Move) is ISLA, with the goal to connect Lisbon – A Corunã and Lisbon – Madrid, an initiative governed by the Spanish brand of high-speed services Iryo. This high-speed connection is expected to reach 350 km/hour.

In fact, the existence of a high-speed train is indispensable for the strong expansion of Portugal and Spain, regarding the fastest connection between the two countries, as well as exports and other necessary aspects.

At a European level, Portugal and Spain will have greater recognition within the European Union, for being one more factor under consideration and developed within the Iberian Peninsula, as well as for raising the peninsular bar, whether in the ease of transport of people, goods and products compared to other transports already developed.

All this interest and effort in making known the reality of a high-speed train in Portuguese territory, capable of connecting the major cities in Portugal in a faster, more efficient and sustainable way, as well as connecting Lisbon to Madrid, only demonstrates the growing capacity of the peninsular connection.

Ana Isidoro

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