Maceió / Penedo




Alagoas shared the sugar and cotton booms with Pernambuco and its capital city, Maceió, 250 km south of Recife, is surrounded by some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Like Fortaleza, Maceió fronts on the ocean, although a twist in the shoreline provides protection from currents. Population of the city was 35,000 in 1910, 380,000 in 1980.

Maceió was the third city in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro and Recife, to inaugurate a steam tramway. The Estrada de Ferro Jaraguá a Bebedouro, 10 km in length, opened on 25 March 1868 and was also the first, and remained one of the few, steam railroads in Brazil with 1435 mm gauge. The Companhia Alagoana de Trilhos Urbanos inaugurated an animal tramway to Trapiche da Barra on Christmas Day 1871 and in 1881 acquired all tram operations in the city. Electricity arrived in Maceió in 1896 but the first electric streetcar didn't operate until 12 June 1914. The trolley system was installed by Thomsen & Co. of New York in association with Eduardo Guinle, the General Electric agent, and equipment came from Brill of Philadelphia: ten 8-bench cars (o.n. 18804), two motorized gondolas (18802) and a funeral car (18800) in 1913, and six l0-bench passenger cars (20656) in 1918. Power was collected by trolley poles and there were 25 km of meter-gauge track, which included the early steam route to Bebedouro.

Maceió's tramway was acquired in 1928 by a cotton tycoon named Gustavo Paiva, who sold it at considerable profit two years later to the U.S. holding company, Electric Bond & Share. The Companhia Força e Luz Nordeste do Brasil, a subsidiary of Ebasco, operated the streetcar systems in Maceió and Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, for the next 25 years. Ebasco transferred ten 9-bench trams from Recife to Maceió in the 1930s and the IBGE listing for Maceió in 1945 shows 27 passenger motor cars, five passenger trailers and two freight cars. The system closed about 1956. The Arquivo Público de Alagoas assured the author that the exact date of closure could not be known.




The state's second-largest city (1980 population: 25,000) is on the north shore of the São Francisco River, about 25 km from the ocean. The Companhia de Transportes Urbanos operated two horsecar routes for exactly 28 years, from 1 January 1909 through 31 December 1936. There were six passenger cars and several freight cars, sometimes used for funerals, all second-hand from Salvador, state of Bahia.