Silvestre charter 1996

On 10 January 1966
a storm closed the Santa Teresa tramway for three months.
The Silvestre line reopened in April
but trams ran only as far as Dois Irmãos -
and continued to terminate there for the next 30 years.
During that time plans were announced again and again
to reopen the entire line - but nothing was done.
Finally, in 1995, one pair of rails - the outbound track -
was uncovered and new poles and wire were installed
along the missing 3 km between Dois Irmãos and Silvestre.
But revenue service did not resume for trams could not run
both ways on the same track on the west side of the road.
In August 1996 the author traveled to Rio de Janeiro
to charter a tram and ride and photograph the line
before - he feared - the rails were covered over again!
The following photographs record this adventure.

The excursion was arranged months in advance
and the tram was waiting at the depot on Rua Carlos Brant
when the author arrived on Saturday afternoon 31 August.
The car proceeded through Largo do Guimarães,
up the hill and out Rua Almirante Alexandrino to Dois Irmãos,
where the new wire and track began.
But despite all the preparations, fees and prior notice,
there was no power on the wire and the car could not go further.
It sat for 75 minutes while the problem was discussed,
calls were made and a line truck was finally dispatched
from the depot back on Rua Carlos Brant.
The photo below shows the irate author astride his chartered tram,
watching the sun go down on Rua Almirante Alexandrino
just beyond Dois Irmãos. (Pedro Souza)





Three hours before sunset the power came on and
the tram was able to proceed south along the restored rails
on the west side of Rua Almirante Alexandrino.
Note the large new line poles and the
absence of a northbound track. (Pedro Souza)







Not far from
Dois Irmãos
is the junction
with Estrada
Joaquim Mamede,
where trams of
Sumaré line
turned off
and headed up
the hill into the
mountains from
1906 until 1912.
Scars of the
northbound rails
on Rua A.A.,
not yet uncovered,
are visible
far right.







The chartered tram broke into sunlight at the junction of
Rua Almirante Alexandrino and Estrada das Paineiras
- which is the principal automobile road between the city
and the Christ statue on Corcovado Mountain.
This is the spot where, originally, the tramway's double track
became single and veered onto private right-of-way. (AM)





The same place - looking the other way.
The automobile road on the right climbs Corcovado Mountain.
Tram track here has always been single
and was originally laid on dirt - the road was not paved.
The bus following the tram was delayed by the photographer!
The linemen on the left had been working on the wire
and had not been told that the power would be turned on
for the charter! (AM)

(The picture above shows approximately the same view as another
taken 33 years earlier that appears on the
1940s, 50s & 60s page.)





The last kilometer of the tram route,
between Estrada das Paineiras and Silvestre,
is inside Tijuca National Park.







the line
a sharp
180° turn





The rails finally reach Silvestre.
Since trams had not run here for 30 years,
the arrival of the charter was an event.
Behind the photographer the line reverts to double track
and forms a siding where trams can pass. (AM)





The Christ
statue on
the (presently
Silvestre Hotel,
and the end of the tramway
line. The tracks of the
rack railway
pass at an angle - see wire - just
beyond the hotel. (AM)


pare this
photo to
taken at the same
spot a half
on the
50s &







The photographs above were taken on 31 August 1996.
In 1998-99 the other (northbound) track of the line was uncovered,
overhead wire was strung also on that side,
and very limited service - one or two trips each morning -
finally began on the Silvestre line in December 1999.
Formal inauguration is expected in 2000.




This final chapter of
was added to the website on
24 July 1999.



Copyright © 1996-2096 Allen Morrison - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED