In 1872, the Companhia Carril Americano do Porto à Foz e Mattosinhos (CCAPFM) opened the first mule tram line in Porto, connecting Rua dos Inglezes (nowadays Infante) with Foz (Castelo) and Matosinhos.
In the next year, a branch line from Massarelos to Cordoaria was opened. A second company, the Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto (CCFP) (the Porto Tramways Company), was established in 1873, and it opened a line from Praça Carlos Alberto via Boavista to Foz (Cadouços) in 1874. More lines were added through the 1870s until the 1890s.
|The tram system of Porto in the 1970s|
CCAPFM and CCFP merged on 13 January 1893, using the latter’s name for the resulting company. Electric traction was introduced in 1895. The last mule-drawn car was retired in 1904, and electrification was complete with the elimination of urban steam engines in 1914.
In 1946, the city purchased the tram system from CCFP and took over its operation, with a new municipal company, Serviço de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP). By 1949, it reached its maximum length of 81 kilometers with 150 kilometers track length.
The 1960s and the 1970s were marked by a continuous dismantling of tram tracks and a preference for cheaper bus transport. The system shrank from 81 kilometers with 192 cars in 1958, to 38 kilometers with 127 cars in 1968, to 21 kilometers with 84 cars in 1978, to just 14 kilometers with 16 cars in 1996. The last remaining line (18) was the start of the current heritage tram system.
These fascinating photos from Guy that show what the the tram system of Porto looked like in the 1970s.
|Porto STCP 167, a 1934 Brill 28 type 4-wheel semi convertible tram on Rua dos Martires da Liberdade on route 8 to Paranhos on 11 June 1974|
|Porto STCP 210, a 1940 CCFP built Brill 28 type 4-wheel semi convertible tram at Amial crossover on route 7 from Batalha to Sao Mamede on 10 June 1974|
|STCP 113, a 1908 locally built 4-wheel tram shunting at Boavista Depot on 11 June 1974|
|STCP 122, a JG Brill built 4-wheel semi convertible tram probably of 1912, turns at Praca de Liberdade in front of Avenida do Aliados on 12 June 1974|
|STCP 129, a 1910 Brill 23 semi convertible platforma salao 4-wheel tram, turning from Rua da Boavista into Travessa Figueiroa to Praca on 12 June 1974|