Today, we have a funicular but at the end of the 19th century an elevator made the route between the Batalha and the Guindais Pier. Inaugurated on June 4, 1891, it suffered, two years later, an accident that forced it to shut down for more than 100 years.
The lift emerged to link the Guindais Pier, where the boats came with food, and the Batalha which, by its central location, was a point of distribution of these products to other parts of the city. The difference between the highest and the lowest point was 75 meters but there were two different slope levels (7% and 47%). The Porto engineer Raul Mesnier made the project and the works began in 1889. The Guindais quarry was dismantled, the lift built and, after several tests, inaugurated in June 1891.
Transportation was made by three cars – one of balance and two main ones, with 5.6 meters of length and capacity for 40 people. In the central part of these cars there were luxury compartments, with rugs, upholstered seats and blinds. The trips were running every five minutes and cost 40 kings, but the huge investment needed to build and maintain the lift has never been offset by revenue. In 1893, an accident – with only material damages – dictated its closure. The current funicular was inaugurated in 2004.
Source: O Tripeiro 7ª série Ano XXII nº 3 March 2003