When Portugal began building railways, the main goal was to connect Lisbon to Porto and the eastern frontier by the shortest route, which left a major part of the Portuguese Western regions away from the network. As soon as those goals were achieved, the Portuguese government and private investors tried to extend the network to the peripheries. Since the West was already served by the Northern line, construction had to wait until the 1880s, although different proposals were being submitted since the 1840s. In this paper, I analyse the process of integration and territorial integration of the West promoted by railways, from the embryonic planning embodied in the first projects to the opening of the Western, Sintra, and Cascais lines. To do so, I will use parliamentary debates, sundry technical reports, statistical data of the operation and recent studies on the impact of each one of those railroads.
- Beira Litoral