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#frifotos – Electric Transport Old & New in Porto

Heritage tram and metro train Porto, Portugal

Heritage tram and metro train Porto, Portugal

One of the things I like about Portugal’s second city is the way old and new are accommodated as the city gradually modernizes its historic centre.  It’s the way of transport too.  Step out of Porto’s airy Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport and a short ride on the streamlined light rail metro, built as part of the Porto Viva urban regeneration project,  brings you effortlessly to the heart of downtown Porto where you find vintage electric trams still trundling around the old streets.

The first ‘american cars’, pulled by mules, appeared on the streets of Porto in 1872. Experimentation with steam traction came next and then in 1895 the trams were electrified. At the system’s maximum extent there were some 30 lines. Many of these were eventually dismantled in the 1960s and 70s in favour of cheaper bus routes but happily three lines have been retained and the restored yellow and tan painted tram cars complete with 1920 and 30s features are now a distinctive symbol of the city.

On our visit to Porto we planned to visit the tram Museum which is housed in the old central power plant at Massarelos, then ride a tram on Linha 1 along the north bank of the Douro to the Atlantic coast. It turned out to be a public holiday with no trams running; instead, encouraged by passengers who somehow managed to make a gap, we squeezed onto a packed bus to make the trip for a day out by the sea.  Another time maybe.

For Views

Linha 1 along the Douro River to the coast is the popular route travelling the old fashioned way.

On the metro, line D will take you high over the Douro on the upper level of the The Luís I Bridge.




Heritage Tram and Metro Line maps

 Porto Tram City Tour

 Metro do Porto in Numbers

Has anyone travelled on Metro or Heritage Trams in Porto?  How did you find them?

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