The total cost of the project is €33.6m, including €1.6m for signalling and other works. Electrification of the 46km Tunes - Lagos section is expected to cost €14m, with a budget of €18m for electrification of the 56km Faro - Vila Real de Santo António line.

So far electrification has only been completed on the 40km Tunes – Faro section of the route to enable electric services to run through to Lisbon.

Marques also announced that an environmental impact study will be carried out in the coming months into a proposed rail link to Faro Airport. “We do not know if this is viable,” Marques says. “This project will have to be considered for implementation after the electrification of the Algarve Line.”

The Algarve Line is one of several electrification projects currently being planned in Portugal. In the north of the country, electrification of the Nine - Viana do Castelo section of the Minho Line is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2018 at a cost of €16m. Tendering for the €23m electrification of the Viana do Castelo - Valença stretch of the Minho Line is also due to begin this month. The project is due to be completed in early 2020.