PORTUGUESE Trains (CP) has placed the first refurbished Arco coaches into service on the Minho Line between Porto and Valença on the Spanish border.

A formation of three Arco coaches is operating every day on the route, comprising one first class coach with 56 seats, a second class coach with 80 seats and a bar car with 25 seats. There is also space for eight bicycles.

CP acquired 50 coaches from Spanish national operator Renfe in 2020, of which 36 were of the Arco type. Nine of these coaches were in a suitable condition to enter service immediately.

Refurbishment of the remaining vehicles has involved 50 Portuguese suppliers, and CP says that the programme has 95% national content, including seats, seating fabrics and curtains as well as more complex electronic and mechanical parts.

The remaining 27 Arco coaches are being refurbished at the CP rolling stock workshops in Guifões, north of Porto, and are due to enter service once the necessary approvals process has been completed.

“For each coach, CP paid Renfe €30,000 and they have a refurbishment cost of about €156,000,” says CP vice president, Mr Pedro Moreira. “Given that the cost of a similar new coach is around €1m, we can only conclude that this was an excellent deal and an excellent decision.”