Monday 1 August 2016

Porto Trams

Tram 218 departing from the Carmo terminus heading towards Batalha on Line 22
Porto is the second city of Portugal, and for many years it boasted a comprehensive tram system of over 20 routes operated by the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP, the Porto Public Transport Society) which took over from the private Porto Tramways Company (CCFP) in 1946. By 1996 all that remained of the former extensive network was just one route (Line 18), this being downgraded from a full tram service to a heritage operation, with buses operating most of the journeys and three heritage trams running on a 35 minute headway. Since that time heritage routes 1 and 22 have been introduced, although the service seemed rather sporadic at the time of my visit in July, especially in the morning. Only four trams are required for the current heritage service, which nominally operates on a 30 minute headway, with two trams being used on the longer Line 1 route. Most of the 4-wheel trams currently in use were constructed between 1938 and 1945 by the Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto (CCFP, the Porto Tramways Company), probably using components from earlier trams, although unfortunately the records from the period have been lost. However tram 131 is a genuine 1910 built product of J G Brill of Philadelphia in the USA, although it was later modified with extended platforms and the addition of doors around 1948.

Tram 213 on its way from Carmo to Massarelos on Line 18
Tram 131, ordered from J G Brill of Philadelphia in 1909, seen turning onto Line 18 at Massarelos
The interior of 131, a 1910 Brill built barrel-roof semi-convertible tram, still in daily service in 2016
Tram 216 at the Infante terminus of Line 1 close to the city centre
Tram 213 at Carmo on Line 18, in front of the Carmalitas and Carmo churches
Tram 220 on Line 1 at Massarelos is still in fleet livery devoid of adverts
Massarelos tram depot, showing that most of the fleet are now covered with gaudy advertising vinyls

Flexity Outlook MP054 leading a Line D train across the River Douro on the 1886 Dom Luis I Bridge
A pair of Flexity Outlook Eurotrams crossing the 1886 Dom Luis I Bridge on Metro Line D

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