MEETING in Lisboa on May 4, Spanish Development Minister Magdalena Álvarez and Portuguese Minister of Public Works, Transport & Communications Mario Lino confirmed the timetable for completing high speed links between the two countries.

A Vigo - Porto route would open in 2009, followed by a Lisboa - Madrid route in 2010. The target journey time between the capitals is 2h 45min, with the possibility of mixed passenger/freight use on a double-track electrified route built to 1435mm gauge.

While the Spanish government is keen for work on the Vigo - Porto corridor to progress, Portugal is pressing the case for an Aveiro - Salamanca route which is now due to open in 2015. A Faro - Huelva line could follow in 2018.

Both parties have agreed to press forward with studies, particularly those examining joint operation of the new lines.