CP railways are described today as “without resources to avoid a new crisis in the summer”.
Says Público: “The summer hasn’t even started and train cancellations in the Algarve are already daily while in the Douro a train was left stranded for five days in the remote station of Vargelas due to a wheel-axle malfunction – and the Spanish trains (brought in recently to relieve Portugal’s ‘stress’ in the sector) have to stop “because they have reached their kilometre limit”.
Sábado claims government sources insist they have a “plan in motion to reduce the effects of the lack of investment”. But can it kick in in time? The answer appears to be ‘not really’.
“In the last few months train breakdowns have multiplied, many of them due to their age”, says the paper, explaining “they weren’t new when they came to Portugal”.
Add to this the delays in the Ferrovia 2020 programme (to boost electrification) and CP has essentially been on a failing mission of damage control.
Only two of the four Spanish engines promised to relieve logistical problems were ever delivered – and these are now about to be removed from service for the fact that they’ve already travelled the 650,000 km limit required before their next service.
According to Sábado, the service will take place during the summer “precisely at the time they are most needed”.
A third engine is expected to be supplied by Spain, but it won’t arrive before September, says the paper’s online.
New infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos “recognises” CP has its back against the wall and has simply said that measures have been taken to try and guarantee that the summer of 2019 has a “better capacity for response” than the summer of 2018.