Oporto Tramways No. 273

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Oporto 273

Photo: Jim Dignan

One of the aims of the Tramway Museum Society is to illustrate the key phases in the historical development of traditional tramcars, but not all of these were represented in the type of tramcars that were typically designed and operated in the British Isles. One example is a design that became popular in North America and in several continental tramways, particularly those enjoying warmer climates than we tend to experience.

Known as the semi-convertible tramcar, as patented by the American manufacturer J.G. Brill, this particular design was, in effect, a hybrid vehicle, offering a kind of half-way house between traditional wooden bodied open-sided tramcars of the kind that operated in many British seaside resorts during the summer months and the fully-enclosed tramcars that came to be favoured by most inland tramway systems.

In parts of North America, where the climate veered from extremely hot during the summer months to exceedingly cold in winter, many tramway operators originally operated fleets of both types of cars, which was extremely expensive and wasteful.

Specification

Type of tram
Single deck; all-enclosed semi-convertible bogie electric tramcar
Livery
Ochre and cream
Seating capacity
40
Date built
1928
Manufacturer of body
Oporto Transport
Manufacturer of truck
BSI Brill 39E bogies
Gauge
4’ 8½”
Motor
BTH 114DR 2 x 55 hp
Controller
Siemens
Current collector
Twin Trolley poles with fixed heads
Modification

Very little significant alteration since 1928 apart from an uprating of its motors and two changes of livery (the ochre and cream dates back to the 1950s and replaces the yellow and white that was adopted in the 1930s after a short period in green and white livery

Withdrawn from service

Spring 1995

Subsequent history

Transported to Crich in May 1995

Restoration history

1999-2002 restored to operational condition with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Current status
Restored in operational condition. Commissioned for service as part of the operational fleet during the current season.
Date started operating at Crich
2002
Total mileage covered at Crich
4,301
Current location
Depots
Timeline
  • 1928 – 1995Operational on original tramway
  • 1995 – 1999On display
  • 1999 – 2002Undergoing restoration
  • 2002 –Operational at Crich (plus outing to Blackpool in 2010)

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.