Oporto’s once extensive tramway system originated in the 1870s when the city authorities granted concessions to two companies that combined in 1893 to form the Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto (STCP), which began to electrify the system. By 1924 there were 80 route km of tramways through the city, but since that time motor buses have been substituted, and only short sections employing not more than four tramcars remain in use.
The tramcar museum opened in 1915 in a former company power station. The collection of more than 20 tramcars includes examples built in Belgium, England, Germany and the United States. A particularly interesting vehicle is a ‘vagorete’, that was used in the 1920s and 30s to carry fish from wharfs on the banks of the River Douro to canning works in the Matosinhos area of the city.