Photo: BARLAVENTO

Crossborder commission throws support behind Algarve-Andalusia rail link

The construction of a rail link between Seville and Faro has been formally backed by the Portuguese-Spanish Commission for Crossborder Cooperation.

The announcement came after a meeting held last week in Mérida (Spain), which brought together representatives from the Portuguese regions of the Algarve and Alentejo and the Spanish region of Andalusia, which annually meet to discuss crossborder projects and ideas.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, the president of the Algarve’s regional coordination and development commission (CCDR Algarve) said the rail link would be of “great importance” to Portugal’s southern regions and could even be extended to Beja and Lisbon.

“The need for such a railway line was identified in 1992 when Expo92 was held in Seville. Thus, institutions and businesses from both countries would like to see this issue considered a priority by the governments of Lisbon and Madrid,” said CCDR Algarve boss José Apolinário.

As he pointed out, the development of Portugal’s railway has moved along “at a snail’s pace” with most promises going unfulfilled.

Nonetheless, Apolinário says he will continue to fight for the improvement of the Algarve’s railway, from its long-planned electrification to the often-suggested construction of a rail link to Faro Airport and the University of the Algarve. As he said, the future of transportation lies on “softer means” such as trains.

Among the other recommendations approved by the crossborder commission were the construction of a bridge between Sanlúcar de Guadiana and Alcoutim, which is due to move forward after its financing contract was signed earlier last month (click here).

Making the Guadiana River navigable up to Mértola and completing the European cycle route network, which will link Sagres to Vila Real de Santo António and Ayamonte (Spain), were also described as “priorities”.

The recommendations were formally approved during the meeting and will be sent to the Portuguese and Spanish governments, which will be meeting for the 32nd Iberian Summit on October 28 in Trujillo in the Spanish region of Extremadura.

The document will also be forwarded to the European Commission to be “analysed within the development priorities of the different corridors of trans-European mobility,” reports Lusa.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com