Portugal’s two largest cities, Lisbon and Oporto, are among a prominent group of new sections of public transport opening this summer across the world. In Lisbon, extensions opened to both the Blue and Yellow Line metros, and a new section of cross-city heavy rail infrastructure began service.
Access and travel to and through Oporto is being transformed by the introduction of a $612 million, 70-station, modern rail-based system. The key five-station, 2.5-mile section between Trinidade and Estadio do Dragao, under the core of the city, much of it a World Heritage site, was opened in June.
In both cities, more investments are underway. Priority was given to the projects largely due to Portugal’s hosting of the 2004 European Football Championships held mid-June through July.
The Oporto scheme integrates new tunneled sections with street running and upgraded suburban heavy rail lines to complete a single network serving the city and its satellite towns and districts. The majority of the new elements, which include 10 underground and 27 aboveground stations, will be open by 2005. More than 60 million passenger journeys a year are predicted. Each new section opened so far has attracted higher numbers than expected.
A majority of the funding for the rail project came from the European Investment Bank, and additional monies were made available through cohesion funds offered to Portugal for a period after it joined the European Union in the 1990s.