The CP, which in the eyes of the hurricane has been faced with delays and other disruptions in the service, admitted in a deliberation of Infraestruturas de Portugal, to which the observer had access, that "accepts the delays that result from other trains"To circulate trains chartered for the PS Summer Party. So trains that will transport socialist militants from the south of the country to the interest in Caminha, its priorities and, if necessary, the regular service of the CP can be postponed by the areas where it passes. There are not many: the course is Santa Apolónia-Pinhal Novo-Caminha. Round trip.
The decision giving priority to the trains of the PS is August 20 and is valid on August 25 and 26 (Saturday and Sunday), days on which the trains go to Caminha (and back to Pinhal Novo and Santa Apolonia). The document has been signed by the Director of the Programming and Schedules & # 39; s program of the Portugal infrastructure, Agostinho Pereira, and by Mário Sousa, who signs the timetable unit manager.
The train stops 20 times on the Novo-Caminha route Lisbon-Pinhal. In total, the journey will take almost seven hours (6 hours and 55 minutes, more strictly) and 526 kilometers. These are the invoices that are made on the road, which double when you add the declaration.
The special PS convoy has already become part of the struggle between the opposition and the government between the parties. It all started when the CDS called for an emergency meeting of the standing committee (the only one that works when Parliament is on holiday) to discuss the problems of the railway. The PS and Ferro Rodrigues, however, did not find the debate urgent and the CDS responded via Telmo Correia to the fact that the PS used a "special train" for their summer party:
We have noticed that the PS will soon be & # 39; Summer Festival & # 39; will have a & # 39; special train & # 39; will use. It is normal and natural that those who have special trains, I do not know if with & # 39; catering & # 39; or without probably air conditioning, is not concerned about the situation of the Portuguese, that is to say of trains that do not exist, do not work in circumstances and, many of them, were suppressed "
Asked by the observer about this issue, the official source of the company began by saying that "CP has been creating special trains for several customers for decades". According to the same source, "CP, of course, when a special train is running, you must request the respective path to the infrastructure managerbecause they are special and not regular trains. "
CP explains that Infraestruturas de Portugal, "if it verifies the feasibility of a positive response to the request of the railway operator, publishes a document called" Printed Letter " [a que neste caso o Observador teve acesso] which contains the technical details of the train's journey. "And he adds:"This is a normal procedure in the daily operation of the railway. "
Concerning the fact that it says "it accepts the delays arising from other trains, for the trains of this Charter", CP itself states that it "is present in several other" printed letter "documents, of special trains though does not mean there are delays in other circulations. "CP also says" the circulation is programmed and therefore has no effect on the performance of other trains. "That is, the CP guarantees that trains will not stop circulating, but the answer to the observer does not address the fact that it can slow down regular traffic.
In order to explain the contract with the PS, CP explained that "it carries out special trains for all customers who request it, whether it concerns entities of various types, companies, associations, citizen groups, sports clubs, partiesetc. on the condition that there are operational conditions to execute them, namely the availability of the channel by the infrastructure manager and the mutual agreement on the agreed commercial conditions. "
A CP driver contacted by the observer says that the news did not go well with the officials. "CP is really in trouble lately," he began explaining. "And the parties know that." So "seeing the PS who is currently chartering a train because of a political party is at least ironic," he says.
The director also points out that the decision caused more strangeness because "last year there were charter trains that had to be canceled due to lack of material." The uprising against the socialists is mainly due to the political part of the decision to charter the train. "There is nothing wrong or illegalbut the PS can not come at this moment to use the railroad as if nothing happened, and ignores the chaos installed in the CP, "he summarizes.
The PS ensures that there is nothing unusual in the initiative. "We approached the CP as a service provider like any other, we were subject to the existing schedules and prices," says the Observer of the national secretary for the PS organization, Luís Patrão, adding that it is an "absolute standard" initiative is. "We've been doing it every year since 2015," he notes.
According to Luís Patrão, the cost of the initiative is "about 13 thousand euros", and the choice of train to the detriment of buses for example is mainly due to two reasons: it is "more ecological" and "provides the militants during the path". It is a train that connects Pinhal Novo, the district of Setúbal with Caminha, Viana do Castelo, where the "Summer Festival" takes place this Saturday. "To take the number of militants that need a train was necessary to put about 15 buses on the road," he says.
"We will not only worry about the trains when there are problems going to the news," he says, recalling the case of the Beira Baixa railway, which "has been left behind for years by the PSD / CDS government and is now under construction, "he says, referring to the link between Guarda and Covilhã.
The so-called "special trains" are a modality provided by CP to each entity, and are mainly used at festivals or music events. The compositions used are the same as those used for regular services, the differences are that they do not circulate at regular intervals and sometimes they do routes that are not included in the routes normally offered by the railway.
Between 2013 and 2014, at a time when CP strengthened the service of dedicated trains, making the service available at more affordable prices, a news from Público reported that more and more companies, schools and municipalities were hiring special trains, and that the bet on trains of that type had delivered 53,000 passengers in 2013.
The service is used by various companies and entities, from Sonae to Mega Pic-Nic to Benfica, which for a number of years used the service to transport supporters from Braga to the station closest to the Estádio da Luz. PCP uses the CP services for the "Train of the Party", that is to say the transport to the Avante! -Party to facilitate.
As you can read on the website of the Avante festival this year, the event is organized by the communist youth and part of Braga to the station of Foros da Amora: "The best and cheapest way to come to the party of Avante ! is by the Train of the Party, which is organized by the JCP The train is a comfortable, cheap, fast way to come to the party and also … to get in the train, is already a feast for the party of Avante! "