PORTUGAL: Infraestruturas de Portugal is to modernise a further section of the Douro Valley line after receiving notice to proceed from both the finance and infrastructure ministries. The scenic route links Porto with Pocinho, a distance of 175 km.

The work will cover the 13 km section between Pinhão and Tua at the eastern end of the line. Within a budget of €5m, IP is to renew the track and sleepers as well make improvements to the subgrade. The work will be undertaken in two phases in a programme lasting until mid-2021.

The Linha do Douro serves a sparsely populated region of the country, but demand for rail services has increased in recent years, driven partly by increasing tourism to Porto and the surrounding area. In recent years, the regular timetable has often been augmented with loco-hauled special trains targeting leisure travellers. As a result, IP has funded several enhancements to the route in recent years.

The latest work forms part of the government’s Ferrovie 2020 programme, under which the section between Caíde and Marco de Canaveses was electrified in 2019. The wires are due to be extended from there to Régua, although the start of work has been delayed. Electrification of the rest of the line has been included in the government’s 2020-30 infrastructure plan, with an indicative completion date of 2025.