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European Railroad Discussion > More Tuesday Trams: Coimbra, Portugal

Date: 01/04/22 14:08
More Tuesday Trams: Coimbra, Portugal
Author: Steinzeit2

There were five classic electric tram operations in Portugal:  Lisbon and Oporto, of course;  Braga, which basically connected the railway station to the famous church through the town, and closed in 1963;  the Sintra-Atlantic, the short single line that connects the station with the beaches, and still runs [ I hope ] only in high summer;  and Coimbra, a university town in north central Portugal.  This small system started with five four wheel cars from Brill in 1911, two more following the next year;  in 1927 the system was expanded and six more cars were built in the system's workshops using imported Brill trucks and GE motors and controls.  Cars 14 and 15 were imported from Brill, and three cars, 16-18 came from Belgium with German electrical equipment -- and air brakes.  The final two cars were again home made copies of the Brill cars.

The system both expanded and contracted slightly in the fifties, one long route being replaced by buses while trolley coaches replaced / supplanted others.  By now the system comprised mainly circular loops with one way running, with additional closures in 1969, with the trolleybus system expanding;  in one case a counter-clockwise circular tram route was complemented by a clockwise trolleybus route.

With the closures cars 2, 8, and 16-18 were stored, while the cars from 1 to 13 had all been rebuilt / rebodied locally in the style of 14-15;  hence at the time of my 1973 visit all the in-service fleet had somewhat the same general appearance.  Here's a look at much of the in service fleet, presented in numerical order:

Date: 01/04/22 14:14
Re: More Tuesday Trams: Coimbra, Portugal
Author: Steinzeit2

Three more......  That's the town railway station on the left of photos 5 and 6;  the trams are meter gauge;  that's a broad gauge CP track continuing to Serpins in the foreground.

Date: 01/04/22 14:22
Re: More Tuesday Trams: Coimbra, Portugal
Author: Steinzeit2

Last three tram photos.   I regret I did not take any of the trolleybuses but I'll post of few of the railway scene there in a day or two.

Best, SZ


Date: 01/06/22 20:23
Re: More Tuesday Trams: Coimbra, Portugal
Author: ironmtn

You are really digging into me with these excellent images. Ar about the same time as these photos, I had the opportunity for some summer study in Europe, partly in Spain and Portugal, as I finished college. I passed on it for a different opportunity here in the States. Had I gone, I'm pretty sure that a visit to Coimbra was part of the planned itinerary. And it's quite possible that I would have seen, and ridden on, these trams. Oh yes, what a miss was it to stay here in the U.S.! (although I must admit that the program I attended was quite worthwhile)

A good friend and classmate did make the trip, and as I recall did go to Coimbra. I'm going to have to ask him. Our class is tentatively set to have a reunion late this coming spring, and he'll likely be there, as I plan to be. It will be great to see him again, as we were good friends through college. But I will have to steel myself a bit, too. Did he see and ride these trams at Coimbra? I will have to curb my envy at his possible answer. And he's not even a railfan! Such a waste!

Thanks for a marvelous set. Portugal is high on my list when we can start to travel again. Seeing these images, and others from places such as Oporto, is there any wonder why?


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