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Alstom: Major contract to modernise Lisbon’s suburban train service + additional regional trains

Cais do Sodré is terminus and interchange to Lisbon's metro system | © UTM/b

The Portuguese state railway operator Comboios de Portugal (CP) has awarded the French company Alstom, as consortium leader, the major contract for the procurement of 117 new train sets. The joint bidders were Alstom Transporte S.A.U., Alstom Ferroviária Portugal, S.A. and Domingos da Silva Teixeira S.A.  A total of five other consortia had bid for the lucrative contract, with CAF and Stadler also on the short list.

The purchase, worth 820 million euros, includes the construction of 62 trains for suburban rail services and 55 for regional lines. There is an option for up to 36 additional trains. The first of the trains are to be delivered in 2026. CP intends to operate 34 of the 62 commuter trains on the extremely busy Lisbon-Cascais route. The current fleet, which consists of units from the 3150 and 3250 series, is essentially more than 70 years old. The railcars used have been supplied from England and Portugal since 1950 and have been modernised several times.

Trains on the Linha de Cascais are up to 70 years old – all have a rebuilt front-end | © UTM/b

The long overdue modernisation of systems and vehicles had been postponed time and again. EU funding has now paved the way for this. The contract to modernise the access points and the track and power supply infrastructure of the 25.5 km long line was awarded last year, including the conversion of the power supply from 1,500 V DC to 25 kV AC. The new signalling technology in accordance with ETCS Lev. 2 will be supplied by Thales.

Most of the stations will be refurbisched as well – here Santo Amaro in 2022 | © UTM/b
Along the banks of the Tejo river: Linha de Cascais | © UTM/b

The line along the banks of the Rio Tejo in Lisbon to its mouth was Portugal’s first electric railway at the time. The modernisation will require some disruptions, but these should be kept to a minimum, as the suburban traffic with various booster and express trains is extremely intensive. There are only connections to the rest of the CP railway network via service tracks, but passengers can transfer directly to the Portuguese capital’s underground network at the Cais do Sodré terminus.

In addition to the Cascais line, a further 16 trains are to be deployed on other Lisbon suburban railway lines and the remaining 12 units on the suburban railway lines around Porto in order to cope with the increased demand there.