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  1. Hi Philippe,

    In 1928 all trams in Portugal were fully symmetrical: double-end with entrances / exits at both sides. So for the trams there wasn’t anything to change. The first unidirectional trams in Porto were put in service in 1946, the first in Lisboa in 1951. Sintra, Coimbra and Braga never had single-end trams with entrances at one side only.

    With regard to the infrastructure there wasn’t much to do either. Tram-stops were most very simple affairs: just a pole with a plate or a plate attached to a support wire of the overhead. Dedicated platforms like now are common hardly existed (if at all). People boarded from the street itself. Sintra even never had official tram stops, trams will stop everywhere possible if passengers ask.

    There were a few changes with the track layouts that had to be made. Not in Braga or Sintra, which were always complete single track with passing loops. Coimbra had since December 1928 one stretch with double track with all the connecting single track routes also used in both directions, so no changes were to be made in Coimbra either.

    In Porto some changes had to be made. The route between Carmo and Carvalhosa went inbound via Rua de Cedofeita and outbound via Rua do Rosário. This was already since 1875 when the trams were hauled by mules. It didn’t change in 1928. That meant that changes to the track layout had to be made in Rua da Boavista (Carvalhosa), at Carmo / Praça Carlos Alberto and in front of the Hospital de Sto.António. Also at Infante the layout was altered because of the shunting with the trailers that had to be done there. The original quite complicated layout at Infante was simplified here as part of the change.
    Perhaps in Lisboa similar changes had to be made, but I lack knowledge about the details of the track layouts and changes with the direction of the traffic flows there.

    Gradually over time the intermediate cross-overs were changed. It’s preferred that the trams go over them with the points trailing because facing points give a small risk that the tram accidentally goes into the wrong track. But this wasn’t an essential type of change for the change in the rule of the way.

    Actually if “Dagen H” had been a few decades earlier, the situation in Sweden would have been much easier. Like almost everywhere double-end trams with entrances at both sides were common and single-end trams with entrances at one side only the exception. One of the rare exceptions was the Frederiksberger tram in Denmark. AFAIK the only single-end tram in Stockholm in 1928 was the short living petrol tram no.475. Acquiring of single-end trams by the Swedish tram systems started in the 1940’s.

  2. Hi
    I know that Portugal shifted from driving left to rigt in 1928. I could imagine, that the trams had only left doors when shifting. How did Portugal cope with this? Did the trams continue in the left side for some time, or was it properly planned as in Sweden (I do not believe :-)), where public transportation introduced double sided door vehicles starting 10 years before cut over i 1967.

  3. Hi Roger,

    I tried to answer to your email address, but that gave a delivery failed error.

    I’m not sure about information on the internet about this. That the small Lisbon tramcars can tackle the hills is because of a combination of things:

    1) The motors are quit powerful. The current trams (series 541-585) have 2×50 kW motors, which means about 6.7 kW/ton for a fully loaded tramcar. Also both axles are powered. The modern articulated trams which do only service on line 15, have 2×105 kW, but as they are much larger, they have about 5 kW/ton for a fully loaded tramcar with 4 out of 6 axles powered.

    2) Sand. To avoid slipping of the wheels sand is poured on the rails. On the most critical places evidence for the use of sand can always be seen.

    3) No trees. In Porto is a long 7% gradient under the trees. Often in the autumn period with humid weather, leaves and other dirt falls on the rails and the trams struggle to climb because the rails becomes very slippery. The same trams with the same drivers on the same days have no problems on the 10% gradients downtown. No trees there, which means the rails doesn’t become slippery. In Lisbon are no trees on the most critical places. Likely more a matter that there was no space for trees in the first place than that they were removed because of the trams.

    4) The winter climate is soft because of the nearby ocean. There is never snow or freezing rain.

    5) Although not important for ascending, but very important to avoid uncontrolled descending, the trams have four independent operating brake systems: highly-rated rheostatic brake, battery operated electromagnetic track brake, air brake and handbrake.

    6) Driver training. When Lisbon still had a large network, operations were divided to flat lines and hilly lines. On the first mainly single operating large bogie trams and small 2-axle trams combined wit 2-axle trailers were used. On the hilly routes only single operating small 2-axle trams were used, which were equipped with extra brake systems. While all drivers could work on the flat lines, on the hilly lines only drivers with a special drivers license, which they got after successful extra training, were allowed to work. Nowadays only line 15 is flat, but I believe that new drivers will start there and only after having enough experience, they will start with extra driver training for the other lines.

  4. Hi sorry I do not speak potugese.

    I have just visted Lisbon and did a tourist tram ride. I have spent the last couple of days trying to find details of how the trams manage the very steep hills as the slopes are much steeper than I would expect. Can you signpost any internet sights for me. Thanks Roger

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