The Lisbon Metro (Metropolitano de Lisboa) opened in 29 December 1959, making it exactly 52 years old today (precisely the number of stations its network currently has!). The initial network had 12 stations distributed along a Y-shaped line. Although the network kept being extended in the meantime, it was only in the 20th century (in 1995) that the Lisbon Metro applied the concept of multiple named and coloured lines to characterize its services. Nowadays, it has 4 lines with the following colours, names, and terminal stations (the names of the lines are rarely used by everyday users, which instead refer to the lines by their colours):
- Blue line: Seagull (Gaivota) line, Santa Apolónia — Amadora Este
- Yellow line: Sunflower (Girassol) line, Rato — Odivelas
- Green line: Caravel (Caravela) line, Cais do Sodré — Telheiras
- Red line: Orient (Oriente) line, São Sebastião — Oriente
Between the morning and afternoon peak hours, only every other train in the Yellow line runs the whole course; “Rato — Odivelas” / “Odivelas — Rato” trains are interspersed with “Rato — Campo Grande” / “Campo Grande — Rato” trains. Unlike in other systems, such as the NYC Subway
and the Porto Metro
, this special service does not bear a special designation or is present in the map. The Blue line used to have a similar off-peak shorter service.
The Lisbon Metro adopts a Beck-style network diagram, which is nevertheless a close approximation to the actual geographic map (which, in turn, is also used by the company at stations). The diagram in this 2010 official leaflet is completely up-to-date regarding the network:
Lisbon subway map
An extension to the Red line is already built and waiting to open. The line continues north from Oriente and then westward, with three new stations: Moscavide, Encarnação, and Aeroporto (the terminal station at the Portela International Airport). Another ongoing work, albeit further from being concluded, is the extension of the Blue line on the Amadora Este side, adding one new station, Reboleira, connecting to the suburban train service of CP.
Although a somewhat pharaonic plan for major extensions to be performed until 2020 was proposed in 2009, all further extensions to the network are an unknown, as a result of the current economic crisis in Portugal and the impending need to heal the public transport companies’ balance sheet.