Our History

SOMAFEL is today a leading company in the construction of railway tracks and overhead lines in Portugal

• Founded in 1956 • Operates on 3 continents • 500 employees


Incorporated in 1956, SOMAFEL focused its first decade of existence on purchasing heavy railway equipment. It signed with CP – Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (Portuguese Public Railway Company) the first multiannual contract for tamping maintenance works covering the whole Portuguese Railway Network.

In the mid-1960’s, SOMAFEL started cooperating with Metropolitano de Lisboa (Lisbon underground company), performing track-laying works on the Restauradores – Rossio – Anjos section.


In 1969, SOMAFEL started operating on the African continent with several railway construction contracts for the Luanda, Moçâmedes and Benguela Railway Companies – Angola. These contracts included the supply of heavy railway equipment and the training of its Clients’ technical staff.

Consolidation in Railway Construction

In 1982, while asserting itself as a leader in the heavy mechanical track maintenance sector in Portugal, successively renewing the contracts with CP, SOMAFEL took over the leadership of a Portuguese-French consortium responsible for the full track refurbishment works between Nacala and Cuamba, in Mozambique. In Portugal, SOMAFEL also continues to constantly participate in contracts promoted by the Lisbon underground company, Metropolitano de Lisboa.

Pioneer in Overhead Lines

Since 1992, SOMAFEL’s priority has been the installation of overhead line systems as its main diversification and expansion strategy in the railway industry. In the late 20th century, SOMAFEL introduced some innovative construction techniques in Portugal: flash butt welding and rail grinding.

Global Development

With the end of a long public investment cycle in the modernization of the Portuguese railway network, SOMAFEL started to promote the internationalization of its activities towards the North African market in 2005 and towards the South African and Brazilian markets in 2009. Since 2015, SOMAFEL has been focusing its efforts on developing its activities in the UK and Northern European markets.