Thursday, 16 June 2011

Porto's Historic Trams



If there is one very fun way to travel in Porto, it is by their vintage tram system. Opened in 1872, like many other tram systems they faced a gradual dismantling by the city's authority until there was only one tram line left in the 1990's. Thankfully, there was one bright spark in the city's transport department who realised that this would actually be a really good attraction for tourists. So a few more tram routes were restored and today, three interlinked routes cross Porto, from the Atlantic coast right through to the city centre.



Practical? Most definitely not. Useful? Well, the bus is quicker...but fun? Absolutely! Rattling away on cobbled streets, these trams are from a different era. Rather than the sleek lines of Porto's modern metro system, these old metal and wooden contraptions slowly wheel you from one part of the city to the next. Up the steep hills and past narrow streets, Porto's vintage trams are the most fun you can have while getting from A to B. They do not run frequently (about every half hour) and they do not run late at night. But wen you are on the tram, you are not looking to break any records. Just to take a slow ride to somewhere in the past...



The trams are ridiculously fun, and being on the Adante Card network, they are practical as well. Oh come on, this is a great way to get round. Thoroughly impractical for the 21st Century, but when you are on holiday, it is not practicality, but enjoyment and slow, lay days that you are looking for. Especially compared to the trams in London, this is just so...cool. Everyone from locals to the foreigners love seeing these cars rattle past. And it was great to see oncoming traffic stop and reverse for these great pieces of heritage. You want my advice? One of the best things to do in Porto. Hop on the tram...

4 comments:

magiceye said...

would love to!!

IsarSteve said...

Interesting posting!

Is the old electrical equipment on the trams British made?

el director! said...

@magiceye - really fun!

@isarsteve - an interesting theory, as they sound a lot like the current Metropolitan Line trains.

By the way, I still cannot log in to comment on your blog - very frustrating!

IsarSteve said...

I know the older Lisbon trams had English-Electric motors. Portugal & Britain have close historical ties (against Spain) and I recall seeing very British looking postboxes there!

Lisbon also had some very wierd looking (to British eyes) mirror-image AEC double-deckers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwRTbEOKJus

Sorry about my blog - try it again some time - it should work now.. :o)