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Lisbon Trams Part One:
Trams of Today

Siemens articulated tram, as operating in summer 2003.

Remodelado'#547 is seen at Pr. Figueira, 2005.

Copyright: ©

14 October 2016

Link to Part Two:

Lisbon Trams

The Lisbon Trams webpage has two parts.
  • Part One: Lisbon Trams of Today
  • Part Two: Lisbon Trams of the Past

    Above left: "A good reason to take the tram" is the slogan for Tagus beer displayed on this Siemens tram, pictured at Praça da Figueira in 2003. Above, centre: Siemens articulated tram, no.505 at Belém, June, 2005. Above right, tram 554 at Estrela, October 2016.

    Lisbon Trams of Today

    Current Fleet

    Left: From 2012 a good new vantage point for watching tram (and river) activity around the Praça do Comércio has been the top of the arch over the Rua Augusta. Here we see one of the Siemens trams on route 15 (October 2013).

    The diversity of Lisbon's tram fleet has declined markedly in recent years, with the withdrawal in the 1990s of various types, including the 1906 Brill bogie cars, and the abandonment of the use of trailers. Further withdrawals took place as recently as November, 2011. (See Part Two of this page for details of the historic tram fleet). Nevertheless, there is still plenty to see, with the fleet now effectively limited to the ten new (1995+) Siemens articulated trams and a fleet of 45 four-wheelers, known as the 'remodelados'. There is also a significant fleet of tourist trams and museum cars.

    In late 1999 some retired 700 class trams had to return to service on route 28, as the 'remodelados' were suffering from a spate of compressor failures. In 2009 Carris listed the available 700 series trams as nine in total, numbered (720-713-717-732-733-735-741-742-744) and built between 1936 and 1947. However, in November 2011, all class 700s were withdrawn as an economy measure, apart from 722 and 745 which continued to operate as "Christmas trams".

    Tram 720 is reserved for the museum and so is not used currently whilst in 2009, tram 742 was out of service.

  • Operational Fleet All service trams are operated by Carris, (Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa), founded in 1872. Formerly. the articulated trams all carried all-over advertising which, in most cases, also covered the windows. Whilst passengers could see out through the advertising, awaiting passengers found it difficult to see whether the tram was crowded or not, or indeed where the doors were. But, by 2005, increasing numbers of the remodelados trams had been restored to the traditional yellow and white livery, without advertising on the exterior.

  • Fleet numbers 501-510 These comprise ten three-section trams built by Siemens and used exclusively on the coastal route #15 to Algés from Praça da Figueira. They entered public service in April, 1995. These trams are air-conditioned and hold 210 passengers, including those standing. Their overall length is 24.02 metres and they have 65 seats. They have two 105kw motors and can reach 70km/hr. All are single-ended, with four sets of 'plug-type' sliding doors and interior digital indicators indicating each tram-stop.

  • Fleet numbers 541-585 These are the new numbers for 45 remodelled trams drawn from 221-282 series and from 701-724, but also including 415 and 483. (See Part Two of the Lisbon Trams page for details). The remodelados were introduced in July 1995 but are actually all older Standard cars from the 1930s, rather than the more modern lightweight vehicles of the 736 series as the Standards were of stronger original construction and had not generally been worn-out by use on the more hilly routes. They have two Skoda motors and have been generally upgraded to give a smoother journey, whilst retaining traditional tourist appeal. They have only 20 seats but space for 38 standing. All are unidirectional and have both trolley poles (for the narrower streets) and pantographs fitted. Their size is 8.382m by 2.378m.

    Right: Remodelados queue up in Praça do Comércio in summer 2005, awaiting an influx of tourists on an organised tour from a visiting cruise ship. Note the fitting of trolley poles as well as pantographs to each vehicle. Trolley poles are needed for the more restricted and steeper routes.

  • Tourist Trams

    Lisbon tourist tram as seen in 2002..

    These were initiallty red, white and gold-liveried trams, fitted with Providence lifeguards which operated the tourist routes, the 'Circuito das Colinas' ('Hilly-route Circular') which passes through the steep and tortuous streets of the Alfama district from the Praça do Comércio, via Martim Moniz, to Estrela and back. Their interiors have been retro-converted to an approximation of early 20th-century fittings. One of these vehicles is seen in the accompanying photograph, in the Estrela turning loop. This journey can be duplicated by service vehicles on routes 28 and 25 for much less outlay but with the tourist trams you are guaranteed a seat and get a commentary. Also, service tram 28 is often very crowded.

    The operating tourist trams are nos. 3 to 9 and 11, (ex 726, 723, 583, 585*, 584, 546, 570 and 569 respectively) and there was even a bogie tram (#10, formerly no.355) in the "tourist" livery which spent a few years parked in the Praça do Comércio as a booking office. Tourist trams no. 1 and 2 were formerly #435 and 437 respectively. *585 was previously 719.

    Sadly the tourist trams (now run as part of the Carris "Yellow Bus" operation) have now (2016) been repainted in either a cardinal red or in green. Those in red are now badged in English as "Lisbon Historical Premium Tramcars" in what appears to be an appeal to the North American tourist market. This runs all year every half hour (2016). Starting at Praça do Comércio, it travels via Praça da Figueira, Martim Moniz, Graça, Portas do Sol, Sé, Conceição, Camões, Estrela and back to Praça do Comércio and takes approx. 90 minutes at a cost of 19 euros for adults, half-price for children.

    An alternative (summer months only) is the green-liveried "Castle Tramcar Tour" which runs from Largo Camões to Alfama and last 75 minutes. It cost 12 euros in 2016, half-price for children.

    Lisbon tourist tram or "Historical Premium Tramcar", no.8, as seen in 2016. .

  • Museum Trams

    For details of the Carris museum fleet, housed at Santo Amaro, visit the Museum Page.

    Track Developments

    Tram track repairs are a constant feature of all networks. The images above show repairs/remodelling in the same stretch of the Rua do Arsenal in 1991 (left) and 2016 (right).

    In October 2016 work was in progress to complete the diversion of tram tracks from their previous route between Pc. Comércio and Cais do Sodré. Trams on route 15 were already by this time using a new section of track which branches off the Rua do Arsenal, left, at Corpo Santo (as shown above) to join the Avenida da Ribeira. The track then runs along the front of Cais do Sodre station's historical frontage to join up with the pre-existing track along Avenida 24 de Julho.

    In the image (left), Cais do Sodre lies behind the yellow building. The point of the work appears to be to simplify the route which formerly crawled around the busy Praca Duque de Terceira. In addition to the new section of track, the entire line back almost to the Pc do Comercio is being renewed. It is effectively a reinstatement of an old alignment as the 1947 map below shows.

    Route 25 continues to terminate at Corpo Santo (2016).

    Some earlier track works are shown below...

    Right: David Gourlay's picture taken on 7 April 2010 clearly shows the new layout at P. Comércio at that time.

    In 2010 track relaying took place in Comercio and in February 2012 David Gourlay indicated that work had started that day in Praça do Comércio "to realign the tram line running from Praça da Figueira/Rua Alfandega (westwards) towards Cais do Sodré. The line is going to be moved closer to the buildings on the north side of the square, with bus lanes being placed between the tram lines". This has now been completed.

    David subsequently posted the following videos on You Tube which show the scene before and after the works were completed.

  • Friday 30th March 2012 from tram 566 on the last day of service over the old line in Praça do Comércio.
  • Saturday 31st March 2012 from tram 504 on the first day of service over the new line in Praça do Comércio.
  • Zorra 395 leaving Santo Amaro with the track.
  • Zorra 395 in Rua do Arsenal

  • Left is an enlargeable map showing the tram track layout around P. Comércio and Cais do Sodré c.1947.

    Below: Courtesy of David Gourlay are these pictures from March/April 2010 of the track works affecting the P. do Comércio. David writes: "A new loop is currently under construction at the western end of Praça do Comércio. The whole square has been a building site for the last year but the race is on to finish it before the Pope's visit in May. The west sidings have been completely removed and the east ones shortened, though they're still in use. The track with Tourist Tram 10 is now completely isolated and the neighbouring connected siding is long enough for one tram only (and isused by all tourist trams). The idea of the loop is to remove the need for the tourist trams to reverse. In high season this caused a lot of problems if a tram coming back from the tour arrived before the next one was due out, as it would then be blocking the line". Tram 10 is shown (far left) being moved to its new location.

    Also pictured below, right, by David Gourlay, is museum tram 283 which in March made a photo stop at Corpo Santo on the curve normally used by route 25 - which may make it the first bogie tram to go there since the 19 closed in c.1991. Pictured left is Tourist Tram 10 being moved to its new location.

    David also reported in 2010 that tram 720 was being refurbished in the Carris workshops as is 742, which has been out of service for quite some time.

    Current Routes

    Lisbon's tram network map has seen large cuts over the last 25 years. Today it has five remaining services, which are all operated by the Carris company. There has been a longstanding hope that a sixth route, the number 24, would be reopened, albeit in a shortened form from Cais do Sodré to Campolide. However, there is little immediate prospect of this development. The five surviving routes are, therefore:

  • 15: P. Figueira to Algés (Jardim), which is a distance of about 10km. The terminus moved temporarily from P. Figueira to Alfândega in 2009 due to works in P do Comércio but has reverted to P. Figueira now. At Algés, there is a major bus station and a train station on the line to Estoril and Cascais, the latter accessible via a subway from the bus station. Shortly beyond the bus station, the tram terminates at a turning loop in Algés Jardim (Algés Garden), which is a short walk from the interesting aquarium at Dafundo. Formerly the route extended to the west via Dafundo to Cruz Quebrada, with a branch beyond to the national football stadium (Jamor). The 15 route runs from the city largely parallel to the river Tagus estuary in a westerly direction and is the only service operated by the new Siemens articulated trams which have capacity for 210 passengers. It has a useful interchange with the rail services on the Cascais Line, with city buses and with river ferries at Cais do Sodré.

    As well as the Siemens articulated trams, route 15 is supplemented by services operated by smaller "remodelados" trams. In 2002, this route was being half-heartedly marketed as the Linha dos Museus (Museums' Line) as it runs reasonably close to 18 museums between the Aquarium at Dafundo (Algés) and the Museu das Comunicações, near Cais do Sodré. Some short-workings to Belém operate and turn in a loop just short of the Jerónimos monastery and these were formerly designated as route 15A.

  • All other routes are operated by the smaller "remodelados" trams.

  • 18: This route ran from central Lisbon to Ajuda cemetery, north west of the city, until 3 March 2012, when it was cut back to run from Cais do Sodré, to the west of the city centre. It now has a much shorter route from the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos at Belém to Ajuda i.e instead of linking Ajuda, eastward to the city centre via Santo Amaro, it now runs in a westerly direction to Belém once it reaches Sto Amaro! It does not run on Saturday afternoons or at all on Sundays.

    Earlier, route 18 had been reported to be facing complete closure and was also threatened with curtailment at its western end at Largo do Calvário (near Sto Amaro tram depot). Approval existed to construct a new turning loop at Calvário - just beyond Santo Amaro depot - but that was not built. In 2009, the starting point for this route had been moved to P. Figueira from Rua da Alfândega but in 2012 its starting point was Cais do Sodre.

    The route has interesting, long climbing sections once it departs from the level route at Santo Amaro. It passes close by the Ajuda palace and terminates at the Ajuda cemetery where there is a turning circle.

  • 24: It was hoped that part of line 24 from Carmo to Campolide would reopen in early 2006 but in 2016 this now seems to have been a pipe-dream.
  • 25: This route runs Rua da Alfândega, via Estrela basilica, to the Prazeres cemetery in western Lisbon. A 10-15 minute frequency of service is operated. In the evenings the service is replaced by mini-bus services. This is an interesting route via the hilly Buenos Aires district, past numerous embassies, an area which is otherwise off the tourist track. Line 25E has no service at all on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays (as at June 2011) and is replaced by a minibus service. As it terminates at Corpo Santo, a little way from the tourist centre, it can be easier to get a seat on this route than on the 28 or 15.

    Left: A 25 service at Corpo Santo, July 2003.

  • 28: Martim Moniz to Prazeres. This is the classic tram route of Lisbon with extensive hilly and narrow streets in the Alfama district. There is also a steep, twisting section as the route leaves Lisbon centre towards Prazeres, up the Calçada de S. Francisco. Services operate about every seven minutes, though short-workings to Estrela at one end and Graça at the other, are included in these timings. Eastbound trams for the Alfama are invariably crowded by the time they reach the Rua da Conceição in central Lisbon, so it can be wise to board in the opposite direction (towards Estrela and Prazeres) and return to the Alfama from that end of the route. Prazeres cemetery itself is itself an interesting spot and has good views across the Alcântara valley which include the Tagus bridge, the docks and Alcântara-Terra station of Portuguese Railways. Heading out of central Lisbon towards Prazeres, there is an impressively steep curve at the west end of the Rua da Conceição as the line leaves the city centre, heading west. The Estrela Park, which is 3/4 of the way to Prazeres is a pleasant spot, opposite the basilica, to break the journey, and has a good cafe.

  • Use of Trams


    Tram stops are rectangular, the older ones being white and carrying the word 'Paragem' ('Stop'), whilst the newer ones are yellow and bear the route number. Sometimes this is prefixed by the letter E, (e.g. E15 = 'Eléctrico', i.e. tram, 15).

    Getting On and Off

    All trams are one-person operated. In the remodelados, the driver checks passes and issues tickets, whilst the Siemens articulated vehicles have coin operated ticket machines and also validating machines for pre-bought tickets.

    The remodelados should be entered at the front and exited by the rear doors. The articulated trams may be entered or left by any of the four sets of automatic doors. On the articulated trams, the name of each stop is displayed and announced as the tram approaches it and route maps are posted above the doors.

    L to R: A 3$00 ticket (1971); a 1991 ticket; a 1$50 ticket (1971).

    Sete Colinas rechargeable ticket


    Although there is an array of tickets and passes available to users of public transport in Lisbon, for the visitor, things were simplified by the Sete Colinas (7 Hills) proximity pass. (The title is an allusion to the belief that Lisbon is built on 7 hills, like Rome). This replaced the Tourist Pass (bilhete turístico) which could be acquired for either a four or seven-day period. The Sete Colinas pass itself is now largely but not toytally supplanted by the Viva Viagem card, which costs half a Euro and is then charged up for a selected number of days to allow unfettered transport on all of the Carris and Metro network.

    For details of ticketing see the Carris & Ticketing page.

    All vehicles and Metro turnstiles have card readers. The card need only be held over the sensor (like London's Oyster card) to register and, indeed, can even be left in a plastic wallet when doing this. The card can be purchased at any Metro station (from machines) and at Carris kiosks. (NB Much more widely publicised to tourists is the Lisboa/Lisbon card, which is much more expensive as its main benefit is to give discount admission to tourist attractions - see below).

    Carris tickets bought from bus or tram drivers are charged at the 'Tarifa de bordo' ('On-board tariff') and are relatively expensive per journey.

    All tickets should be cancelled on boarding trams and buses, using the on-board machines. On the articulated trams, tickets can be bought with coins only from on-board machines, as the driver does not sell tickets or check passes.

    As of 2016 fares were:

    Tickets bought on board for a single journey - buses € 1,80, trams € 2,85, funiculars (up & down return) € 3,60, elevator (up & down return) € 5,00

    Tickets charged onto a Viva Viagem/7 Colinas pass for a single journey - for Carris/Metro € 1,40

    Tickets charged onto a Viva Viagem/7 Colinas pass for a 24h pass on Carris/Metro € 6,00, on Carris/Metro/Transtejo (Cacilhas) € 9,00, Carris/Metro/CP € 10,00

    VV cards can also be uploaded with cash.

    An alternative for tourists who wish to visit Lisbon's museums is the Lisbon Card, which gives unlimited use of Carris services (except the Aerobus, tourist bus and tram-tour route, as well as free use of the Metro and of the Cascais railway line from C. Sodré to Belém. In addition it provides free entry to 26 Lisbon museums and monuments. Amongst the museums covered are the Maritime Museum, Coach Museum and Air Museum. The Card may be purchased in City Tourist Offices and other outlets.

    Buying a ticket on the tourist trams is very expensive - 18 euros in 2009. As route 28 largely mirrors the tourist tram's "Hilly" route, a Viva card is a much better bet.


    The sole tram depot is at Santo Amaro, between central Lisbon and Belém. Visitors to the Carris museum get a free tram ride within the depot complex as part of the admission price. The Bolaria café across the road affords a good vantage point for watching tram movements at Santo Amaro. This depot has been in existence since before the electric trams arrived in 1901.

    Formerly other tram depots existed in Lisbon. One of these was the Arco de Cego depot, built in 1902 on a 29,176sq.m. site acquired in 1882, but this closed in the 1990s. By then it had lost 9,000sq. metres of land to the national mint. Arco do Cego then acquired a new lease of life as Lisbon's main long-distance coach station but this is now decommissioned and the site is being converted into a leisure facility (2005). For details, see the Lisbon Suburban Bus and Coach page.

    A third depot closed in 1981 at Amoreiras and is now the site of a modernistic shopping centre. Carris bus depots have opened at Pontinha (1975), Musgueira (1981) and Miraflores (1983).

    Above: Santo Amaro depot in July, 2000

  • Santo Amaro blog
    Part 2 of the Lisbon Trams Page covers:

    Lisbon Trams of the Past

  • Historic Fleet Details
  • Tram Trailers and Works Cars
  • Carris Museum of Transport
  • Old Tram Routes in Lisbon
  • Reading Matter: references to books and images relating to Lisbon trams Links to other related sites

  • Contact: the following is not a link; please transcribe the address into your email