A brief history
The company was founded on January 26th 1948 to conduct the technical and economic study of a passenger transportation system, which would operate below ground level in the city of Lisbon. The authorisation for the installation and development of public services was granted on July 1st 1949.
Construction works began on August 7th 1955 and four years later on December 29th 1959 the system started its operation. The initial section of line opened to the public was an Y-shaped formed by two distinct sections of line, Sete Rios (presently, Jardim Zoológico) – Rotunda (presently, Marquês de Pombal), and Entrecampos – Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) joining a common section of line, Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) – Restauradores. Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) station enabled the transfer between the two first sections of line. It was a big event for the city and had an enormous success, transporting 15.3 million passengers in the first year. At the time of its opening the Lisbon Underground Railway was the fourteenth in Europe and the twenty-fifth in the world. The first was the London Underground Railway in 1863, developed from a concept of Charles Pearson, the inventor of this means of transportation.
The Lisbon underground railway became an important driving force in the development of the city, drivingf urban expansion and acting as the main component of the city’s transportation system due to its safety, speed and reliability.
The first phase of construction was divided in several steps. In 1963 the Restauradores/Rossio section was opened, in 1966 Rossio/Anjos and in 1972 the Anjos/Alvalade section was completed. The platforms were progressively extended until 1982 so as to accommodate trains with six cars.
In 1975 the company was nationalised and in 1978 the company became a State Owned Enterprise new articles of association were published and its official name was change to Metropolitano de Lisboa E.P.
In 1988, sixteen years after the last expansion, two new extensions were opened, one from Sete Rios (presently, Jardim Zoológico) to Colégio Militar/Luz covering the stations of Laranjeiras, Alto dos Moinhos and Colégio Militar, and the other from Entrecampos to Cidade Universitária.
In 1993 two sections of line were opened, Cidade Universitária – Campo Grande and Alvalade – Campo Grande. Located on top of the Campo Grande viaduct, it was the first elevated station of the Lisbon Underground Railway. At the same time the new Calvanas (PMO II) depôt came into service, the access to this depôt is made from the viaduct through the shunting zone next to Campo Grande station.
In 1995 the separation of the lines in Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) station, was a fundamental mile stone for the expansion of the underground, marking the first step towards the establishment of a network. Two independent lines were established with transfer stations at Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) and Campo Grande.
In 1997 two new sections entered operation, Colégio Militar/Luz – Pontinha, on the Blue Line, and Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) – Rato, on the Yellow Line.
By the end of 1997 the section between Restauradores and Rossio was closed to enable the connection works between Rossio – Baixa/Chiado and Restauradores – Baixa/Chiado. Due to a fire which took place at Alameda station, during the night of the 19th October 1997, the traffic between Areeiro and Martim Moniz (previously Socorro) stations was only reestablished in March 1998. From this date on, the system is operated with three independent lines. The blue Line “Pontinha – Restauradores”, the Yellow Line “Campo Grande – Rato”, and the Green Line “Campo Grande – Martim Moniz (Socorro)”.
In April 1998 the section of line Rossio – Baixa/Chiado – Cais do Sodré entered service. Baixa/Chiado station is a double station, but on this date only the section serving the Green Line was opened, the other section serving yhe Blue Line had its opening planned for August 1998, facilitating the transfer between Lines Blue and Green.
In May 1998 the newRed Line “Alameda – Oriente” entered service. This was a particularly important milestone in the history of the Metropolitano de Lisboa (Lisbon Underground Railway) for it was the first time since its opening, in 1959, that a complete new independent line was built and put into service. Apart from the alteration of Alameda station which was transformed into a double station enabling the transfer between the Green Line and the Red Line, the new line covers six stations: Olaias, Bela Vista, Chelas, Olivais, Cabo Ruivo and Oriente. Cabo Ruivo and Olivais stations will entered service only in July and November respectively. With the opening of this line the Lisbon Underground Railway has four independent lines, with a total length of about 30 km, and 36 stations of which four are double stations enabling the transfer between lines.
The construction of the Red Line was particularly important not only because it served, through Oriente station, the important event which was the EXPO’ 98 but also because of its contribution to the urban development of the whole western area of the city.
In July 1998 Cabo Ruivo station, on the Red Line, was opened to the public. In August 1998 the Restauradores and Baixa/Chiado connection as well as the second section of Baixa/Chiado station came into operation thus enabling the transfer between the Blue and the Green Lines. Also in August the third depôt (PMO III) at Pontinha will enter service. In November 1998 Olivais station, on the Red Line, was opened to the public.
The new ML 97 rolling stock entered revenue service in February 1999. On the same date the new Pontinha (PMO III) dêpot enters started industrial operation.
In November 2002 the section Campo Grande – Telheiras, on the Green Line entered operation.
In March 2004 the section Campo Grande – Odivelas, on the Yellow Line covering five new stations, Quinta das Conchas, Lumiar, Ameixoeira, Senhor Roubado and Odivelas, entered operation. For the first time the Metropolitano the Lisboa went beyond the limits of Lisbon.
In May 2004 the section Pontinha – Amadora Este, on the Blue Line with two new stations, Alfornelos and Amadora Este, entered operation.
In December 2007 the section Baixa/Chiado – Sta Apolónia, on the Blue line entered operation covering two new stations representing two priviliged interfaces with the north train line and the south boat connection.
In August 2009 the section Alameda/São Sebastião, on the Red line entered operation covering two new stations which transforms the Metro into an actual network by connecting all the 4 lines.
Nowadays the network consists on four independent lines with a total length of about 43,2 Km and 55 stations. The Lisbon Underground Railway will constitute the backbone of the city´s transportation resources.