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The Tramways of Portugal

British hobbyists were among the first public transport enthusiasts to travel to Portugal in the 1950s – at a time when there were no fast and cheap travel offers available and the country was not as easy to access for foreign visitors as today.

As early as 1964, a first edition of a travel guide was published, supplemented by diverse information on the history of Portugal’s various electric local transport systems. Until 1994, three more editions were published, but it was to take another 28 years before the fifth edition came onto the market, in a significantly expanded scope and format. Instead of 92 pages in DIN A5 format (4th edition 1994) there are now 328 pages in DIN A4!

All existing and closed tramway, light rail, metro and trolleybus systems in the country are included. The emphasis is on the extensive historical descriptions – illustrated a wide selection of historical colour photos, the quality of which and the choice of motifs are often simply astonishing. The chronlogical development of the classic tramway operations in Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Coimbra and Braga are described in detail, as are the trolleybus operations in Coimbra, Porto and Braga. Only some of the more recent developments of the Lisbon system, especially the closure dates of the route in the 1980s and 1990s, might have been included, to give a complete picture.

The vehicle fleet is not neglected either, and the quality of the 57 maps included is excellent in every respect. Descriptions of the newer light rail operations in Almada and Porto are somewhat shorter, but there is naturally less to report here. In Coimbra, the construction of an electric bus BRT system has been underway for several years and has completely replaced the earlier light rail plans (https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/coimbra-the-electric-metrobus-is-coming/ ). The history of Lisbon metro is also covered, albeit without photos.

The result is without a doubt a very useful book for all those interested in the country’s public transport system. The price and the complications of shipping with additional costs for books from the UK since Brexit should not be an obstacle here. And for all visitors of the still existing systems with their antiquated vehicles, which have survived to our days, the book also offers fascinating insights into the former operation. Highly recommended!

Editors: Brian King and Carl Isgar

328 pages DIN A4, softback

more than 400 colour and b/w photos, 57 maps

Publisher: Light Rail Transit Association

Price: £45.00 + postage + customs if applicable

ISBN: n.n.

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