The capital of Mato Grosso state is in the geographical center of the South American continent and, after Manaus, may be considered the most remote tramway city in Brazil, perhaps the world: 1,200 km west of Brasília, 300 km from the Bolivian border, the only large city in the vast wilderness area where Theodore Roosevelt went hunting and nearly lost his life in 1914. Cuiabá (1980 population: 200,000) was a gold rush town and Manoel da Silva Monteiro, a local industrialist, formed the Companhia Progresso Cuiabano and inaugurated a mulecar line on 30 April 1891. Operation passed to the Empreza Cuiabana Ferro Carril e Matadouro (Railway and Stockyard) the next year. Service was so bad by 1896 that the chief of police placed guards at the depot door to keep the trams inside, an action that provoked a political scandal in which both the police chief and the state's governor were forced to resign. Forty mules were still pulling eight passenger cars and four freight cars on 6.5 km of track in 1911 when there was proposal for electrification. But nothing came of it and mules powered the trams until the system quit in 1935. Cuiabá, like Manaus, was never reached by railroad.
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