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Lisbon’s new trams started service

© UTM/b

Following the delivery of 10 of the 15 new low-floor tramcars ordered for the Lisbon tramway, the trams have been in revenue service since 22 September 2023. With 4-5 cars already operating on average, they currently make up the majority of the rolling stock on the 15E line. In addition, some of the older Siemens/CAF low-floor trams of the first generation from 1995/6 are still in use, but none of the two-axle trams previously used as reinvorcement service. For some time now, line 15E has been shortened to the Alges – Belem – Cais do Sodré section due to long-lasting construction works in the lower city Baixa area, where it would otherwise have terminated at Praca da Figueira. For this reason, buses are operating on the Praca da Figueira – Cais do Sodré – Belem route as a replacement and reinforcement.

The extension of line 15E at both ends has been planned for a long time, but concrete initiatives are still pending. The western extension beyond Alges to the former terminus Cruz Quebrada, which was previously abandoned in 1994, is largely still in place. It has been partly refurbished and made operational again, but the tracks at the Alges loop still need to be reconnected. However, apart from the first 200 metres, the eastern extension from Praca de Comercio to the Santa Apolonia long-distance station and beyond is de facto a new construction, the start of which is currently not in sight. In order to make the line more attractive in the long term, measures are also needed to improve the operational flow, because despite longer stretches on reserved public transport routes, the trains are still stuck in traffic jams for unnecessarily long periods in other places and at traffic light junctions without priority. There is also a clear need for improvement in terms of barrier-free access at various stops.

Low-floor does not necessarily mean barrier-free access…. | © UTM/b
In the traffic jam: Cais do Sodré | © UTM/b

Nine of the older low-floor articulated railcars (from the series of ten cars in total) are to remain in the fleet and be upgraded for further use. However, some of them have been moved to a bus depot for the time being, together with various two-axle vehicles, because the only tram depot in Santo Amaro will no longer have sufficient storage capacity once all the new railcars have been delivered.

Siemens low-floor tram along brand new CAF no. 601 | © Budach
Single seats in the interior | © UTM/b
Backside views | © UTM/b
Not always sunshine in Lisbon: Alges terminus | © UTM/b
Along the Cascais suburban train route | © UTM/b