The Porto Steam Trams

Steam tram with locomotive Henschel no.5 at Cadouços ca.1902. Photo Aurélio da Paz dos Reis.

In Porto, like in most cities before electric trams were introduced, horse trams provided the urban public transport, although in Porto more often mules were used. Steam trams were used in many cities too, most on busy suburban routes. Porto was one of the cities in Europe using steam locomotives for trams. This page is about the steam trams of Porto that operated in the city for 36 years.

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Ponte Luís I

The Ponte Luís I seen from the side of Vila Nova de Gaia, about 1995.

The Ponte Luís I, often called the Ponte Dom Luís, connects the central parts of Porto and VN de Gaia. It had and has a major role in the public transport of Porto and is one of the most important landmarks of the city. This bridge with two decks was built in the 1880’s as successor of the from 1843 dating Ponte Pênsil.

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Metro do Porto

Eurotram at Viso, 31 August 2012

During the last decades of the 20th century the increasing number of cars made Porto the scene of an almost continuos enormous traffic jam. The buses were stuck in the jam too. The remains of the old tram system, in decline since 1959, were not suited to provide a base for high capacity public transport. But Porto was considered too small for a full scale underground system. It was decided to create a new light-rail system in tunnels in the central area of the city and at surface outside the central area. For this a new organisation was created, the Metro do Porto.

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The joint route of the Metro do Porto

Eurotram and Flexity Swift at Lapa, 21 June 2016

Five out of six lines of the Metro do Porto share a joint route between Estádio do Dragão and Senhora da Hora. This route runs from east via the centre to the north-west of the city over a distance of almost 10 km and has a total of 14 stations/stops: Estádio do Dragão – Campamhã – Heroismo – Campo 24 de Agosto – Bolhão – Trindade – Lapa – Carolina Michalis – Casa da Música – Francos – Ramalde – Viso – Sete Bicas – Senhora da Hora.

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Line A of the Metro do Porto

Parque Real 28 May 2012

Line A was in December 2002 the first opened of the Metro do Porto. From March 2005 it shared its route between Estádio do Dragão and Senhora da Hora with other lines making this the joint route. About 300 meter north of Senhora da Hora line A leaves the joint route and turns to the west in the direction of Matosinhos. This branch counts nine stops: Vasco da Gama – Estádio do Mar – Pedro Hispano – Parque Real – Câmara de Matosinhos – Matosinhos Sul – Brito Capelo . Mercado de Matosinhos – Senhor de Matosinhos. Until 1993 electric trams had been riding through Rua Brito Capelo, nine years later this street welcomed the trams of the MP.

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Lines B (Maia part) & E of the Metro do Porto

Custóias with a pair of Eurotrams on line E to Aeroporto, 10 August 2012.

The lines B and E of the Metro do Porto share their route not only on the joint route, but also beyond Senhora da Hora until Verdes. On this section are from Senhora da Hora 5 stops until Verdes: Fonte do Cuco (also shared with line C) – Custóias – Esposade – Crestins – Verdes.

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Line B of the Metro do Porto in Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim

A Flexity Swift passes the old, disused narrow gauge railway station of Modivas, 18 March 2019.

Line B is the successor of the narrow gauge railway to Póvoa de Varzim. In Porto it uses the joint route. Counted from Senhora da Hora the length is about 24 km and there are 22 stops. The narrow gauge railway had nine stations on this part. The first part after Senhora da Hora is shared with line E.

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Line C of the Metro do Porto

Castelo da Maia, 10 March 2012

Line C is the successor of the narrow gauge railway to Trofa, though it reaches only until ISMAI. In Porto it uses the joint route and then for a short distance shares the tracks with the lines B and E. Line C diverts from line B in Fonte do Cuco, one stop north of Senhora da Hora. Between the stops Custió and Parque da Maia line C diverts from the original route of the narrow gauge railway to join it again at Mandim. This is done to serve better the centre of Maia. Counted from Fonte do Cuco the length is 10 km and there are 10 stops: Cândido dos Reis – Pias – Araújo – Custió – Parque da Maia – Fórum Maia – Zôna Industrial – Mandim – Castelo da Maia – ISMAI. The old narrow gauge railway had on this part four stations and three more on the part which is not realised.

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Line D of the Metro do Porto

Ponte Luís I at twilight, 5 December 2013.

Line D is the only line not using the joint route between Estádio do Dragão and Senhora da Hora. It has a 4 km long tunnel between Polo Universitário and the bridge across the Douro river with 8 stations. For the river crossing the upper deck of the complete renovated Ponte Luís I is used. The upper deck of the bridge and the adjacent Avenida da República in VN de Gaia had electric trams from 1905 until 1959.

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Line F of the Metro do Porto

An Eurotram approaches the Rio Tinto stop, 1 October 2012.

Line F leads from Senhora da Hora via the joint route to Estádio do Dragão and then in eastern direction to Fânzeres. It serves the northern part of the municipality of Gondomar. The line has a 950 m long tunnel between the stops Nau Vitória and Levada to cross the Minho-Douro and Leixões railways.

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