Madrid and Lisbon will be connected by high-speed train

by admin
AVE high-speed train

In 2027, Madrid and Lisbon will be connected by a direct express train connection that will reduce the travel time to six hours. This is a significant improvement compared to the current travel time of nine hours, which requires travellers to transfer twice. A high-speed train between those cities is planned for 2035.

The European Commission is currently negotiating with Spain and Portugal to make this interim solution possible. This interim solution can be used pending the completion of the high-speed line (AVE) between the two capitals, scheduled for 2034.


In April, the European Parliament approved a revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (RTE-T). It states that the high-speed line should be ready by 2030. However, expectations now appear to be more realistically aimed at 2034. This is partly due to the need to build a new bridge over the Tagus to reach Lisbon. That project is estimated to take nine years and is not even planned yet.

Intermediate solutions

Spain has requested an “Implementation Decision” from the European Commission to redefine project deadlines. José Antonio Sebastián, Commissioner of the Atlantic Corridor, recently indicated that the aim is to have a direct and fast train connection between Madrid and Lisbon by 2032. This would also be on the occasion of the Football World Cup, which is being organised by Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The plan is to realise this direct connection by 2027. It would take six hours, regardless of the type of train running on the tracks. The Spanish Ministry of Transport is currently working on expanding the AVE network to the border with Portugal. There are already 150 kilometres of new railway lines between Plasencia, Cáceres and Badajoz.

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Renfe and hybrid trains

Renfe will use the Talgo S-730. This is a hybrid train that can run on both conventional and high-speed tracks and has both electric and diesel engines. This is crucial given the current state of rail infrastructure in Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha. Renfe is also in the process of obtaining the necessary licenses and safety certificates to operate in Portugal, so that the direct train connection will be available in 2027.

Future High Speed Plans

Portugal has approved plans for new high-speed connections. These include connections to Badajoz and Plasencia, as well as a line between Vigo and Porto that would take just 50 minutes. A line between Porto and Lisbon in 1 hour and 15 minutes is also planned. These developments will significantly reduce travel time between major cities. In addition, they will contribute to a reduction in daily flights between Madrid and Lisbon, and between Porto and Lisbon.

Old plans

The first serious news about the Lisbon-Madrid high-speed train dates back to 2000. The then heads of government, José María Aznar (Spain) and António Guterres (Portugal), decided during the Iberian summit in Salamanca to set up a committee to further investigate the project. In 2003 it was approved and the countries reached an agreement: the train would run via Badajoz, have a European gauge and connect both capitals at a speed of 350 kilometres per hour in two hours and 45 minutes. The project should be completed between 2013 and 2015. However, the idea did not find much support in Portugal. During the economic crisis, it was considered too expensive for something that was not a priority. A high-speed train connection between Lisbon and Porto was also a higher priority.

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