The Tramways of

São Paulo state


Allen Morrison


Part 1: 1879-1968

( Go to Part 2: 1972- )


Campinas is 100 km north of São Paulo and is the second-largest city in São Paulo state (after São Paulo city). Population was about 30,000 in 1900 and is 1,000,000 today. The steam railroad arrived from São Paulo in 1872 and the Companhia Campineira Carris de Ferro was organized in 1878 to build a tramway to transport passengers from the railroad station ("Estação") to Praça José Bonifácio in the center of town [see map]. CCCF imported four horsecars from the John Stephenson Company in New York and inaugurated the line on 25 September 1879. It later acquired trams second-hand from São Paulo and operated five lines. Here is a fare receipt [col. AM]:

The photograph below, taken about 1900 at the "Estação" [see map], is one the few known views of animal traction in Campinas [col.AM]:

A new organization, Companhia Campineira de Tracção, Luz e Força, was organized in 1910 to build an electric tram system. CCTLF ordered eight 10-bench trolleys from J. G. Brill in Philadelphia in 1911 and began construction of the line. The photograph below shows number 1, the first electric tram built for Campinas [Brill Magazine, Philadelphia, July 1912, p. 219]:

CCTLF inaugurated its meter-gauge electric tram system on 24 June 1912. During the next decade it ordered eight more cars from Brill and thereafter built its own vehicles on the Brill model. The postcard view below shows homemade car 38 on Avenida Andrade Neves about 1920 [see map] [col. AM]:

In the 1930s CCTL&F rebuilt most of its trams with arch roofs, closed vestibules and 9 benches instead of 10. See comparison. Number 128, formerly 28, was photographed in 1963 in front of the cathedral on Praça José Bonifácio [see map] [Ray DeGroote]:

The picture of car 126 below, also taken in 1963, shows the classic design of most Campinas trams in their final years. Location is the end of route 14 at Boa Esperança [see map inset] [Ray DeGroote]:

Tram 119, below, retained its bulkhead and 10 benches and was rebuilt with a "railroad" roof. It was the only tram of this design in Campinas and was a favorite of tramway enthusiasts. This 1965 photograph shows it turning from Rua Saldanha Marinho onto Rua Hercules Florence on the Botafogo line [see map] [Foster M. Palmer]:

(Hércules Florence was a French draftsman who was commissioned by the Russian government to document an Amazon expedition in the 1820s. While living in Campinas in the 1830s, he independently constructed one of the world's first cameras, took some of the world's first photographs, and coined the word photographie.)

In addition to its local tram system, Campinas had one of South America's few interurban tram lines. The Ramal Férreo Campineiro was a 600 mm gauge steam railroad built in the 1890s between Campinas and Sousas, with a branch to Doutor Lacerda [see map]. CCTL&F acquired the railroad in 1911, rebuilt the main line to meter gauge and inaugurated a 17 km electric railway from Campinas to Souzas on 18 March 1917. Electrification was extended the remaining 15 km to Cabras two years later. The Campinas local tramway and the 32-km Cabras line were acquired by the U.S. conglomerate, Electric Bond & Share, in 1928 and transferred to the Companhia Paulista de Força e Luz in 1946. CPFL sold the interurban line to the Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana in 1952 and most photographs of Cabras trams show the initials "EFS" on the front. For its Cabras line EFS purchased four single-truck cars second-hand from the tramway system in Belo Horizonte. The rare photograph below was taken at the terminus in 1958 [William Janssen]:

When the local tramway was absorbed by the municipal Companhia Campineira de Transportes Coletivos on 30 September 1954, it had 28 motor cars serving 13 routes on 58 km of track. The EFS closed the Cabras line on 10 February 1960 and the first 7 km of the railway, from Campinas to Boa Esperança, became CCTC route 14 [see photograph above]. Automobile traffic was increasing and, alas, the Campinas tramway system consisted almost entirely of single track with passing sidings in narrow streets. Abandonments began in 1964 and the last tram ran on Friday night, 24 May 1968 :

Nine decades of street railway service in Campinas came to an end.

But it was not the end of electric transport. The local government built a heritage tramway in 1972 and a trolleybus line in 1988. (The trolleybus line never operated.) The São Paulo state government built a light rail line in 1990: see the Campinas chapter of my website, Light Rail in Brazil. For a description and photographs of the heritage tramway . . .


Go to Part 2



Also, download a 23-page coloring book that presents the city's tramway history to children. "Dinho, the Friendly Little Tram" was produced by EMDEC, the municipal agency that operates the Campinas bus system. Click on the image below for links to the three (3) pdf files:



(in order of publication)

Untitled news item in Brazil-Ferro-Carril (Rio de Janeiro), 6/1912, p. 145. Inauguration of the Campinas electric tramway.

"Initial Equipment for Campinas, Brazil" in Brill Magazine (Philadelphia), 7/1912, pp. 218-221. Nice article about the first cars. Three pictures, including the third illustration on this page.

"Open Cars for Campinas, Brasil" in Brill Magazine (Philadelphia), 12/1916, pp. 372-373. Another illustrated article.

"Tracção Eléctrica" in Brazil-Ferro-Carril (Rio de Janeiro), 31/3/1917, p. 142. Inauguration of the Souzas interurban line.

"Ramal Férreo Campineiro" in Brazil-Ferro-Carril (Rio de Janeiro), 16/3/1919, p. 144; 30/6/1921, p. 371. Interurban line extended to Cabras; new cars and fares.

"Combination Car for Campinas, Brazil" in Brill Magazine (Philadelphia), 6/1921, pp. 348-351. Photos, diagrams and description of the Brill cars built for the Cabras interurban line.

São Paulo (state). Comissão Geográfica e Geológica. "Campinas" topographic map, dated 1921, shows interurban line and branch.

Raymond DeGroote. "Companhia Campineira de Transportes Coletivos", 4/1963. Unpublished, hand-drawn map shows track detail and routes of the Campinas tramway system.

"Campinas vende os bondes até o dia 31" in O Estado de S. Paulo (São Paulo), 15/5/1968. Long article about 28 trams for sale.

"Os Bondes Vão Acabar." O Estado de S. Paulo (São Paulo), 26/8/1967, p. 13. Closure of the Campinas tramway. Good historical summary.

"O trólebus chegando a Campinas" in O Estado de S. Paulo (São Paulo), 20/2/1988. Description of the trolleybus project on Av. das Amoreiras in the southwestern part of town. Note about future plans for a "Trem Metropolitano".

Antonio Gorni. Ramal Férreo Campineiro. The Cabras interurban line: English text, map, diagrams, timetable and photos.

Empresa Municipal de Desenvolvimento de Campinas ("EMDEC"). Histórico do Bonde em Campinas. Webpage presents detailed histories of the Campinas tramway and Cabras line.

Empresa Municipal de Desenvolvimento de Campinas. Dinho o Bonde Amiguinho. A 23-page coloring book (for children and childlike tram enthusiasts) that describes the history of Campinas trams and the new line in the park. Three "pdf" downloads.

In addition, the author wishes to express his gratitude to Prof. Harold E. Cox of Wilkes University for the detailed information that he provided about the trams constructed for Campinas by the J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia.



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Allen Morrison

This page was uploaded on
20 January 2005

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