PORTUGAL’s prime minister, Mr António Costa, officially inaugurated the completion of electrification of the Minho line connecting the ports of Vigo, Viana do Castelo and Leixões on April 26.

Costa said one of the main benefits of electrifying the line, which connects Porto with Vigo in Spain, is a tripling of freight capacity because longer trains can now operate more frequently. Costa described this as “decisive to strengthen the competitiveness of the great region that is the north of Portugal and Galicia.”

The main benefits for passengers are:

  • a 15-minute reduction in journey times
  • all trains, except Porto - Vigo, will switch to electric traction
  • a daily Lisbon - Valença inter-city service
  • a daily Coimbra - Valença inter-regional service
  • upgrading of inter-regional trains to inter-city standards, and
  • more inter-regional services at weekends.

The modernisation of the Minho line cost €86m and was co-financed with €68m from the Compete 2020 programme. Electrification of the southern Nine - Viana do Castelo section, which was completed in July 2019, cost €16m, while electrification of the final Viana do Castelo -Valença section cost €18m.

The work also included resignalling, improvements to passenger stations, an increase in the length of passing loops to allow the operation of 750m-long freight trains, and the elimination of level crossings.