Missing Electric Trains

Electrification of the Minho Line between Porto and Valença, at the Portugal-Spain border, was completed in 2021, and was funded by the EU. The line on the Spanish side of the border between Tui and Vigo-Guixar is likewise electrified. But because neither CP (Portuguese railways) nor Renfe (Spanish railways) own any regional trains compatible with the electrification and signalling systems on the other side of the border, polluting diesel trains that date from the early 1980s are deployed on the route instead – and run for 170km under electric wires. This also means the service on the line is irregular – just 2 trains per day.

What needs to be done: procurement of new electric trains for cross border operation, or installation of Portuguese signalling equipment in Spanish trains that are already capable of running on Portuguese electrification system


European Commission Analysis

In 2018 the European Commission published its “Comprehensive analysis of the existing cross-border rail transport connections and missing links on the internal EU borders”. The main report (74 pages, PDF) summarises the issues, and Annex 3 of the report (384 pages, PDF) analysed every single border.

For the sake of simplicity, I have made a PDF just of the relevant pages of Annex 3 that cover Vigo-Porto – you can find that PDF here.


Photos from this location


Map of the location

Full zoomable All The Borders map on umap.