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11 August 2004
Following studies into the possibility of creating a high-speed rail network in Portugal, the government has decided to incorporate Rede Ferroviária de Alta Velocidade, SA, a company included within the state enterprise sector and tasked with developing and coordinating the construction works and studies necessary to take decisions on the planning and construction, financing, supply and development of the network.
In June 2004 the Portuguese government published some decisions setting out the guidelines which will govern the construction and operation of the network, domestic high-speed lines and connections with the Spanish rail network. The network will be comprised of specially designed high-speed lines, some of which will support speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour (kph) and others which will support speeds of over 250 kph. Rolling stock operating on these lines should be capable of profiting from the new infrastructure by achieving the maximum speeds specified; on the faster lines trains will be expected to achieve a minimum speed of 250 kph and, under the appropriate safety conditions, a maximum speed of over 300 kph.
It is thus crucial to ensure compatibility between the infrastructure and the rolling stock, so as to obtain the best results in terms of performance, safety, service quality and costs. Accordingly, the rolling stock must comply with certain technical characteristics in order to safeguard passenger protection and ensure optimal performance on the network.
The government has presented the high-speed train network as a structural investment project which will further the development of national industries and enhance connections with Europe. To this end, all rail assets must be compatible with those in operation in Europe, in order to allow standardization on the high-speed European network.
In light of the risk-sharing principle, and in order to implement the train infrastructure guidelines, the government believes that private initiative has a crucial role to play. It is thus continuing to open rail concessions to private investment and taking account of the European liberalization programme set out for this sector.
Within this context, the government has decided to approve the development of several lines which will form part of the high-speed rail network. Some of the lines are to be in operation before 2010, while others have been granted longer deadlines. However, the creation of the high-speed network, and the utilization of rail assets by private entities on a concession basis, will constitute an excellent opportunity for private investment.
For further information on this topic please contact Pedro Cassiano Santos or Hugo Moredo Santos at Vieira de Almeida & Associados by telephone (+351 21 311 3400) or by fax (+351 21 352 22 39) or by email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Pedro Cassiano Santos
Hugo Moredo Santos