Portugalskie Pendolino / High Speed Railway in Portugal
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Portugalskie Pendolino / High Speed Railway in Portugal

October 12, 2019


Fast connections of Alfa Pendular brand were launched in Portugal at the end of 1990s. Trains connected Capital City with northern and southern parts of the country, including two most important cities – Lisbon and Porto. They are operated by Pendolino trains well known among European countries. In this episode, we will board Alfa Pendular train, check the maximum speed that is achieved on route and travel time in which distance between Porto and Lisbon is overcome. Let’s watch! Porto Almada and Lisbon High Speed Railway Heavy Metro Light Metro Trams Ferries and Buses Transport in Portugal Thank you for $ support on Patronite.pl! High Speed Railway in Portugal Alfa Pendular network of connections covers more than 650 kilometers of railway lines, consisting of a northern line linking Lisbon with Porto and south from Lisbon to Faro. Some of departures in the north are also extended to Braga or Guimarães, but on these sections trains do not exceed speed of 200 km/h. And this is one of speed limits from which in case of adapted railway lines, we can talk about high-speed railway. To service routes are used 10 trains built on basis of Italian design of third-generation Pendolino electric multiple unit with ETR460 designation. Fiat built them together with Siemens in Portuguese factory of ADtranz Amadora. Trains with a length of 160 meters were delivered in 1999, they are 6-segment-long and are 2-meters-92-centimeters-wide. Weighing 300 tons, unit is supplied with 25 kV voltage and has bogies with an unusual Iberian track gauge of 1668 milimeters. Pendoluso takes 75 passengers on 1st class seats – Conforto – and 239 in 2nd class – Turistica. The pendulum, on which Pendolino translates, is equipped with a tilting body that allows you to overcome arcs on routes with increased speed relative to conventional trains. This is due to possibility of tilting train body from rest of unit by a maximum of 8 degrees. Passengers are even less aware of achieved speed and, above all, of overcoming arcs, although gentle swinging of train may cause motion sickness in people susceptible to it. Interesting attractions on monitors are provided by Portuguese railways during travel. We can watch local city guides or even culinary programs. In order to fully use television, at the seats headphone inputs are available, allowing passengers to use voice and sound individually. Passengers can also listen to three radio channels. We will take a closer look at 330-kilometers-long route between Porto and Lisbon, a significant part of which has been modernized in recent years. Currently, it allows you to travel at a top speed of 220 km/h. As part of modernization on this route, among others 161 new engineering structures were built – bridges, viaducts and tunnels. As part of Alfa Pendular project, travel time between Porto and Lisbon has been shortened by 30 minutes, today it ranges from 2 hours 50 minutes to 3 hours, which gives a travel average speed of around 110 km/h. Connections are performed during peak hours on average every hour and around rush-hours every two hours. A total of 11 pairs of courses per day are performed on this line. Price for ride depends on advance with which we buy the ticket. In next days, a journey between Porto and Lisbon can cost 30 euros and if you buy ticket at least 5 days in advance, tickets can be at a promotional price starting from 12.5 euros. However, this applies only to selected number of seats on train. In addition, it is possible to order a meal – breakfast or lunch – already at time of purchasing ticket. Meals available in menu depend on date of our trip. Since 2017, trains have been thoroughly modernized and it must be admitted that after 18 years of use, modernization is definitely needed, both in terms of external and internal conditions. From outside, train’s hood is repaired, color of units is also changed to silver-green. Interior is also completely renovated, new seats and equipment appear. In each wagon, two Wi-Fi antennas and electric sockets are installed under each seat. Railway is struggling with strong competition in connections of both major Portuguese cities. There are also available coach and air lines, but trains in this market try to balance time and cost of travel. Air connections are very attractive because flight lasts 55 minutes, but depending on date, trip costs from 30 euros bought well in advance, up to 140 euros for the next day. Airplanes fly more often than trains have their departures. Departures are held regularly every hour also in period between the peak. Travel by train, however, will be incomparably cheaper in case of traveling with large luggage. Alfa Pendular connections operate within network of Portuguese Railways – Comboios de Portugal. Network has almost 2,800-kilometers of railway lines and in addition to AP connections there are international trains IN, intercity IC, interregional IR, regional R and suburban U. In total, in 2017 Portuguese Railways transported 122 million passengers. In Portugal, we can also see trains of Spanish Renfe railway, servicing international night train connecting Madrid and Lisbon. Wagons running under “Tren Hotel” brand ought to offer even a hotel standard and among them there are also sleeping cars. I mentioned about connection between capitals of Portugal and Spain because there were plans to create a high-speed railway line between them. Among expected parameters was a top speed of 350 km/h and a travel time of less than 2 hours 45 minutes. It would be a definite improvement over the present state, where journey by night train lasts over 10 hours. Cost of the construction of line was estimated at almost 8 billion euro and supposed to contribute to creation of up to 100,000 jobs. However, due to financial crisis that hit Portugal in 2011, the project was abandoned. Portuguese Alfa Pendular connections are equivalent of express Intercity Premium trains operating in Poland. They also connect largest cities in country and are serviced by units of highest class. Portugal trains, despite achieving a maximum speed higher about 20 km/h on route (top speed 220 km/h) and having a tilting body for overcoming arcs faster – they achieve on most important connection in the network a very similar average travel speed in service. In Portugal, however, high-speed trains appeared already at end of 1990s and today the first major repairs are carried out. In Poland we started our adventure with Pendolino just 4 years ago, and Polish units still have potential untapped today. By that I mean their admission to passenger traffic with a top speed of 250 km/h. We currently do not have adjusted railway line where this potential could be used. Therefore, we have trains, but we still miss the infrastructure, which is now in first need. In current situation, we will be delight of every kilometer of railway line allowing reaching a speed of over 200 km/h. Meanwhile, thank you for your attention and see you next time. Bye!

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