The reduction in the number of trains, delays, old trains, frequent breakdowns, closed stations, lack of safety and investment in the railways and trains are the main complaints made by train users.
There has been a rising wave of public and political anger at the state of Portuguese railways as a lack of maintenance workers and old rolling stock means more and more trains break down and have to be cancelled.
On the Oeste line between Sintra and Figueira da Foz, local authorities and passenger commissions have complained about trains being cancelled frequently and buses used to replace the services, train breakdowns, degraded rolling stock, fewer trains, a lack of passenger information, closed stations and a lack of staff.
In Santarem, on the Northern Line, a passenger association has said that their main concerns with the state of the railways were safety, the maintenance and renovation of stations, the platforms and the surrounding areas.
The main problem lies between Santarem and Entroncamento, a 35-kilometres stretch of line that has never been upgraded to support higher speeds, Manuel Soares told Portuguese news agency, Lusa.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Cascais line passengers’ commission, José Medinas, told the news agency Lusa that train cancellations and the use of trains with fewer coaches at rush hour were affecting train journeys between Cascais and Lisbon.
“We have frequent breakdowns that we believe are caused by a lack of investment by CP on the line. […] There are often accidents on the line and the company that is liable for the maintenance of the line has done miracles with the trains that are 50 or 60 years old and this cannot continue because we are the passengers and want the line to work properly”, he said.
In Alentejo, on the stretch between Beja/Casa Branca, which connects Beja to Lisbon, there are no Intercity trains because the line has not been electrified and so CP operates a fleet of diesel railcars that are more than 50 years old.
Passengers and unions have complained about the train cancellations and the instability of the train times on the Algarve line, where about 25 trains were cancelled in the first days of August, the Transport and Communications Union Federation (FECTRANS) told Lusa.
The cancellations are mainly because of “rolling stock problems” or “sending passengers to other trains” FECTRANS said having held protests at Faro station to call attention to these problems.