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Travel On Train Alfa Pendular (Portugal)

Alfa Pendular (Portugal)

All that's good to know about taking a journey on the Alfa Pendular (AP) trains operated by the Portuguese national rail operator, CP.

The fastest trains in Portugal travel at speeds of up to 220 km/h (135 mph) and also have tilting technology - so that they can travel faster around curves on the railway.
As a consequence it's possible to save 25 mins on a Lisboa ↔ Porto journey and 28 mins on a Lisboa ↔ Faro journey compared to taking the more conventional Intercidades trains.

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At a Glance

Catering

Food services available

Bistro (bar food and take away meals)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Reservations

Compulsory
Time of Day

Day
Journey Specifics

Not High Speed
Travel Passes
Eurail
InterRail

On Board

Conforto class

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Rail Pass Reservation Fees

€5 for Eurail and InterRail pass users

Power Socket

Includes USB sockets

The 2 + 1 seating layout on an AP train The 2 + 1 seating layout
The seat numbers on an AP train The seat numbers are above the windows
A luggage rack on an AP train There are 2 or 3 of these luggage racks per Conforto car
The seat back tables on an AP train The comparatively large seat back tables for the Airline style seats
A table seat in Conforto Class on an AP train The tables can be folded out to give more space for laptops etc
The power sockets on an AP train The power sockets are down by the footrest

Conforto Class is located in coaches 1 and 2, with coach 2 being closer to the bar/bistro in coach 3.

As showcased in this great video guide, when travelling in Conforto Class on an Alfa Pendular (AP) train, you will be seated in the equivalent of a comfortable leather armchair for a journey across Portugal.
So the travel class very much lives up to its name, the leg room is comparatively generous, there are footrests, the seats are comparatively wide - and the seats which aren't against the wall at the ends of the coach, can also be reclined.

The only negative is the lack of an at-seat catering service, particularly as personal catering is the norm when travelling in the equivalents of 1st class on other European express trains.
Apparently a catering trolley service was available pre-pandemic, but the operator CP, evidently hasn't brought it back.

Conforto Class ticket holders can also access the lounge at Lisboa-Oriente station.

Turistica class

Perks
Wheelchair Spaces

Dedicated spaces for wheelchairs are available on this train.

Rail Pass Reservation Fees

€5 for Eurail and InterRail users

WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

The Airline style seating in Turistica Cass on an AP Train The airline style seating
The at table seating The at table seating

Travelling in a comparatively comfortable leather covered seat results in a Turistica class seat on an AP train, is a superior experience to travelling in the equivalents of 2nd Class on other European express trains.
The key differences to travelling in Conforto (1st class) on an Alfa Pendular (AP) train, are:

  • narrower seats
  • less legroom
  • seats arranged 2+2 across the aisle
  • only two sets of table seats (five sets are available in Conforto)
  • less storage for large items of luggage.

The Turistica class seats are in coaches 3 to 6.

Note that some of the Turistica class seats are in Coach 3, which also houses the bar/bistro counter.
So target these seats if you know that you will want to visit the bar / bistro during the journey, but avoid them if you want to avoid the inevitable hubbub in this coach.

Good to know info:

ShowMeTheJourney has anticipated what questions are most often asked about travelling on the Alfa Pendular (AP) trains and answered them below.

If you can't find the information you are seeking, you can ask a question by using the Travel Planning Service.

How fast does the train travel?

Alfa Pendular trains have a top speed of 220 km/h (135 mph), but they only reach this speed when travelling between Coimbra and Aveiro.
Though they travel at up to 220 km/h (125 mph) on the routes between Lisboa and both Coimbra an Tunes.

Are seats allocated when booking tickets?

Yes.

Can specific seats be selected from a seating plan?

Seating plans are integral to the booking path on the CP website.

Can I choose forward facing seats?

The direction of travel arrow on the CP website The direction of travel arrow on the CP website

Yes, a direction of travel arrow in included on the seating plan.

Do Eurail / InterRail Pass users need to make reservations?

Yes, seat reservations are mandatory when travelling with rail passes on the Alfa Pendular IC trains.

Note that the same rail pass reservation fees of €5 in both Conforto and Turistica class are charged to travel on the alternative, slower Intercidades (IC) trains.

How can Eurail / InterRail Pass users make reservations?

Holders of valid Eurail and InterRail passes (Global and One country passes) cannot book reservations for the Alfa Pendular trains online, they can only be purchased prior to boarding at the ticket desks at the major stations.

What catering is available on the train?

The only catering on the train is the food and drink which can be ordered by visiting the bar / bistro counter, which is located in Coach 3. Hot food is available, but there is no full meal service

Are power sockets available?

Yes - for standard E.U. 2-point plugs

Is Wi-Fi available?

Yes.

Are wheelchair spaces available?

Yes, though they are in Turistica Class (2nd class)

More information is available on the CP website; CP is the national rail operator in Portugal.

What is the luggage policy?

Each passenger can carry one piece of luggage - not including laptop bags, handbags etc.

Can non-folding bicycles be taken on board?

No, only folding bicycles can be taken on board Alfa Pendular (AP) trains

Non-folding bicycles can taken on the alternative Intercidades (IC) trains.

Can dogs be taken on board?

Tickets are required if the dog isn't transported in a pet-carrier.
These tickets must be booked at stations - the charge is a full price ticket at the Adult rate for travel on the AP trains:

The regulations which apply when NOT using a pet-carrier and travelling with a dog on any train are:

  • the dog must be muzzled
  • the dog must be on a short leash,
  • the owner must have the animal's vaccination card with them and a valid licence
  • the dog must stay on the floor.

Boarding

The coach numbers on the AP trains The coach numbers on the AP trains

The Alfa Pendular trains have six coaches / cars.

  • Conforto / 1st class = coaches 1 and 2
  • Bar/bistro car = coach 3
  • Turistica / 2nd class = coaches 3 to 6

When travelling north coach 1 is typically at the rear of the train with coach 6 at the front.

All of the coaches have large numbers on their sides, note that these do not designate the class of travel - as shown above this number 2 is indicating that this coach 2 of 6 and not that it contains 2nd class seating.
Note that on the Intercidades (IC) trains the large numbers on the exterior of the coaches, do indicate the class of travel on those trains.

Boarding an Alfa Pendular train
The info on the door of an Alfa Pendular train The info on the door of an Alfa Pendular train

The doors, which are push-button operated, have an info panel; from top to bottom, it shows

  • the train (combio) service number
  • the starting station
  • the destination station
  • the number of the coach / car (carrvagem).

Routes:

The Alfa Pendular (AP) trains operate on these two routes:

  • Lisboa-Santa Apolónia - Lisboa-Oriente - Coimbra-B - Aveiro - Porto-Campanhã - Braga
  • Faro - Albufeira-Ferreiras - Tunes - Lisboa-Entrecampos - Lisboa-Oriente - Coimbra-B - Aveiro - Porto-Campanhã
hand-money

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