High-Speed Train to Transform Lisbon-Madrid Travel

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 21, 2024 10:30 AMNews
A high-speed train on a rail bridge
Direct rail link for tourists. Source: unsplash

A new high-speed train line connecting Lisbon and Madrid is set to revolutionize travel between the two capitals, promising a journey time of just three hours. This £3.5 billion project aims to enhance tourism and improve connectivity, linking two of Europe's most popular holiday destinations, which are 388 miles apart.

Currently, the train journey between Lisbon and Madrid can take up to nine hours and requires multiple transfers. The new high-speed train will offer a direct route, significantly reducing travel time and providing a faster, more efficient alternative to flying.

The initiative, approved by the Portuguese Cabinet, aligns with the Spanish government's push to promote high-speed rail travel over flights to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The train will pass through Spain's Extremadura region, offering passengers scenic views and a comfortable travel experience.

This new rail link is expected to boost tourism by making it easier for visitors to explore both cities. In March, Spain saw a 21% increase in international tourists compared to the previous year, with visitors spending a record €8.652 billion. Portugal also experienced a record-breaking year in 2023, welcoming over 30 million visitors and generating approximately €25 billion in tourism revenue.

Despite the project's approval, it will be some time before travelers can use the new route. The high-speed train line is expected to have a journey time of six hours by 2027, with full completion anticipated by 2034 due to the construction of a new bridge over the River Tajo, which is expected to take nine years.

The previous train service between Lisbon and Madrid was discontinued in 2020, leaving travelers with the option of flying, which takes just one hour and 20 minutes. The new high-speed train will provide a much-needed direct rail link, operated by Renfe, Spain's state-owned rail company.

Portugal is also developing its high-speed train line, with parts expected to open later this year and full operations starting in 2025. The estimated cost of the new railway project ranges from €3.9 billion to €4.1 billion.

This significant infrastructure investment underscores the commitment of both countries to improving travel and promoting sustainable tourism, ensuring that the region continues to thrive as a premier tourist destination.

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