PORTUGAL: Tenders will be called in June for a 40-year PPP concession to build the Poceirão - Caia section of the Lisboa - Madrid high speed line. Expected value of this contract is €1·7bn.

This will be followed later in the year by the start of bidding for a concession to construct the second section from Lisboa to Poceirão, which will include a major viaduct known as the Terceira Travessia do Tejo, or third crossing of the River Tagus. This will be around 13 km long, of which 7 km will be over water as three separate channels need to be crossed. Value of the Lisboa - Poceirão contract is put at €1·6bn.

Carlos Fernandes, Board Member of RAVE, Portugal's high speed lines planning organisation, said on March 17 that three more concession tenders would follow during 2009, the first being for the Lisboa - Porto route; this will be split into two sections: Lisboa to Pombal (south of Coimbra), estimated to cost €2·1bn, and Pombal to Porto, which is budgeted at €1·7bn. The third tender, due to be launched in the second half of 2009, will cover construction work on the 55 km Braga - Valença section of a high speed line being developed between Porto and Vigo in Spain. This has a price tag of €800m.

A separate 20-year concession tender for design, supply, installation and maintenance of signalling and telecommunications, expected to be worth €600m, is envisaged in 2010.

The lines from Lisboa to Porto and Madrid and Porto to Vigo figure among the 30 TEN-T priority projects, meaning that European funding is available towards the cost. Target journey time for Lisboa - Madrid is 2 h 45 min, and the line will be designed for a maximum speed of 350 km/h. Intermediate stations on the 206 km Portuguese section are planned at Évora and Elvas, close to the frontier near Badajoz. Target date for the start of services is 2013.

Top speed on the Lisboa - Porto line will be 300 km/h, which should permit a 1 h 15 min journey time for the 290 km when the line opens in 2015. Intermediate stations will be built at Leiria, Coimbra and Aveiro.

In the longer term RAVE also plans lines from Évora to Faro with a cross-border link to Huelva in Spain. Another international scheme covers a line from Aveiro to Salamanca in Spain.