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As part of the work feeding into the country’s upcoming National Railway Plan, the Vale d’Ouro Association has put forward proposals for a new line through the Trás-os-Montes region to link Porto with Zamora in Spain.
The government is due to issue the National Railway Plan in the first quarter of 2022, and has been seeking public input to ensure that the plan addresses gaps in the current network; the intention is to ensure that all of the country’s provincial centres should be rail served.
Developed by a team of rail and infrastructure specialists, the proposal unveiled by the public interest group at the end of September is aimed at restoring a rail link to Trás-os-Montes, where regional lines were progressively abandoned between 1991 and 2009. The scheme has been validated using cost modelling and technical standards developed by Spanish infrastructure manager ADIF.
The route would be 265 km long, with 39 viaducts and 22 tunnels, crossing Trás-os-Montes on a broadly east-west alignment. A double-track route designed for mixed traffic operation is provisionally costed at €3∙7bn. Stations are planned for Paços de Ferreira, Amarante, Vila Real, Alijó, Mirandela, Macedo de Cavaleiros and Bragança.
The new line is intended to be integrated with other major infrastructure schemes being taken forward under the government’s PNI2030 rail investment programme. For this reason, the route would begin at Porto Sá Carneiro airport, where a station is envisaged as part of the proposed Lisboa – Porto – Vigo high speed line. From there, the 160 km/h alignment would intersect with the existing network at Ermesinde north of Porto, before continuing to Paços de Ferreira. This would be the site of an interchange with the future Valongo – Amarante Vale do Sousa line, which is also included in the PNI2030 plan. From there to Vila Real and Bragança, a line speed of between 200 and 250 km/h is envisaged, rising to 300 km/h over the border in Spain, where the route would end at a junction with the recently opened Galician high speed line between Madrid and Ourense.
The route could offer significant time savings for international journeys. Madrid would be 3 h from Porto and 4 h 15 min from Lisboa, which the study suggests is likely to be at least 15 min quicker than the route between the two capitals through Badajoz now being revived under the South International Corridor project.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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