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In 1872 the Companhia Carril Americano do Porto à Foz e Mattosinhos opened the first mule tram line in Porto, connecting Rua dos Inglezes (nowadays Infante) with Foz (Castelo) and Matosinhos. In the next year, a branch line from Massarelos to Cordoaria was opened. A second company, the Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto (CCFP) (the Porto Tramways Company), was established in 1873, and it opened a line from Praça Carlos Alberto via Boavista to Foz (Cadouços) in 1874. More lines were added through the 1870s until the 1890s. In 1878 the CCFP line from Foz to Boavista was converted to steam traction. At Boavista was the change of traction between mules and steam engines. Four years later, the interurban line of the CCFP was extended from Foz (Cadouços) to Matosinhos.

CCAPFM and CCFP merged on 13 January 1893, using the latter's name for the resulting company. Electric traction was introduced in 1895. The last mule-drawn car was retired in 1904, and electrification was complete with the elimination of urban steam engines in 1914.

In 1946, the city purchased the tram system from CCFP and took over its operation, with a new municipal company, Serviço de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP). By 1949, it reached its maximum length of 81 kilometers with 150 kilometers track length. The 1960s and the 1970s were marked by a continuous dismantling of tram tracks and a preference for cheaper bus transport. The system shrank from 81 kilometers with 192 cars in 1958 via 38 kilometers with 127 cars in 1968 and 21 kilometers with 84 cars in 1978 to 14 kilometers with 16 cars in 1996. The last line (18) was the start of the current heritage tram system.

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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3872 W: 83 N: 5985] (48446)
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