A third crossing of the Tejo, exclusively railway, for the transport of passengers and goods, the total quadrupling of the Northern Line and a new axis of the interior are some of the proposals of the BE draft for a National Rail Plan.
Speaking to the Lusa news agency, HE Deputy Heitor de Sousa anticipated the main lines of the National Railway Plan and the investment program for its implementation – which will now be the subject of a public hearing and then transformed into a bill -, a preliminary draft which will be presented this afternoon by the bloc coordinator, Catarina Martins, at the Peso da Régua train station in Vila Real.
"We want, in a supplementary way, to complete what the Government does not have the courage to do because the registration of public investment that the Government has on the railroad remains a minimum, there are still incomprehensible things," he said.
The objective of BE "is to develop a systematic plan for public investment, transforming the panorama of the national railway network that currently exists," noting that the rail freight and passenger transport profile in Portugal "is the third worst that exists in the European Union "due to the abandonment to which this means of transport has been condemned.
"We defended the idea of a third rail crossing of the Tagus, only because the former Cavaco Silva Government unfortunately had a project finance with Lusoponte in which it attributed the exclusivity of all road crossings for a period up to the end of concession ", he revealed.
A crossing between Chelas and Barreiro, exclusively rail, which should serve to transport passengers and goods is the proposal of the BE, explaining Heitor de Sousa that this "has to be made in international gauge and also in Iberian gauge because the Network National Railway should continue to circulate in the country. "
"Still in this minimum register, the Government defends the quadrupling of the North line, but it is only 163 kilometers, therefore, only in some sections. We think this is absurd even because the North Line is already completely saturated in terms of time channels and so we want to turn what is a partial quadruple proposal from the Government into a full quadrupling, "he revealed.
The objective of this plan is also, added the deputy of the BE, "rehabilitate lines that, however, have been disabled", as for example the Douro, recovering others in which "the service has been degraded" with is the case the west line or the interior lines.
"We want to create a new railway axis of the interior, north / south, that allows to connect the interior, from the Guarda to Beja and to the Funcheira", added also, being also the objective "to rehabilitate lines of merchandise transport that there were in the Alentejo, which is the Évora line and the Vila Viçosa branch. "
Recovering for the rail freight and passenger rail service the section between Beja and Funcheira, which was interrupted, is another of BE's bets.
"An international line integrated into a trans-European single-track transport network is something that does not exist in Europe, it only exists in the head of the former Planning Minister and this Government, it is apparently not available to review this line profile," he criticized.
In terms of investment, since these are not concrete projects, but rather "just ideas", the BE accounts are still "cost estimates".
"What we think is that the 2040 rail plan development plan, therefore, a rail plan to be developed in 20 years, has a cost that is roughly double what the Government intends to spend on Railroad 2020 plus PNI 2030 [Programa Nacional de Investimentos 2030] in rail transport, "he replied.