/ Mosqueiro / Santo Antônio do Prata




Pará is the second-largest state in Brazil, 1,250,000 km2, smaller than Amazonas. Its population, however, has always been greater: 600,000 inhabitants in 1900, 900,000 in 1940 and over two million today. Pará was also involved in the rubber boom, but didn't suffer as much from the bust for its capital is also a major seaport. Belém ("Bethlehem"), founded on Christmas Day in 1616, lies at sea level and 1° latitude, in the delta of the Amazon River, which is 300 km wide at its mouth. Population was 200,000 in 1900 and is 600,000 today.

The first tramway company in Belém was organized in 1868 by the U.S. consul in Belém, an American industrialist named James Bond. Local historians claim that Bond's name gave birth to the word bond, later respelled bonde, the Brazilian term for tram. [See discussion in Part 2, above.] Bond inaugurated his steam tramway in Belém, one of the first in Brazil, between the Largo da Sé and Largo do Nazaré ("Nazareth"), on 1 September 1869. Gauge was 1435 mm and there were 3 locomotives and 12 passenger cars

Bond sold his railway in 1870 to Manoel Bueno, who formed the Companhia Urbana de Estrada de Ferro Paraense, and in the same year the Companhia de Bonds Paraense inaugurated the first 750 mm gauge mulecar lines. By 1883 there were 30 km of steam and animal tramways. Passenger cars were built by Stephenson and Brill in the U.S. and photographs show left-hand operation on two-way streets. The Companhia Urbana took over all tramways in 1894 and hired Siemens & Halske of Berlin to install electric street lights and build an electric streetcar system.

The Germans accomplished only the first task. The Pará Electric Railways and Lighting Company, registered in London on 25 July 1905, bought the Companhia Urbana and hired J. G. White & Co. of London to build the electric streetcar system. Construction began 15 August 1906 and trolley operation in Belém was inaugurated on Avenida São Jerônimo [Avenida José Malcher today] exactly one year later, on 15 August 1907. Animal traction ceased 21 July 1908 and the horsecars were sold to Natal, state of Rio Grande do Norte. Unlike the English-owned trolleys in Manaus, the electric cars in Belém ran on the right-hand side of two-way streets.

Belém's electric tramway system remained British throughout its existence. One passenger car was acquired from Brill in the U.S. (o.n. 15463 of 28/8/1906), but 91 others were built either by the English company in Brazil or by the Brush and United Electric companies in England. Because of Belém's moist climate all trams were constructed of teak and - unusual in Brazil - open cars had center aisles. Class regulations were strictly observed: a car marked "PRIMEIRA" would not stop for a passenger who was inappropriately or incompletely dressed or for anyone carrying a parcel. By 1933 Pará Electric operated 102 motor cars and 22 trailers on 63 km of standard gauge (1435 mm) track. Like trams in Manaus, Belém cars carried trolley poles.

In 1940, 20 closed trams of Brush manufacture were acquired second-hand from Cardiff, Wales. These were the only cars that a visitor found running in 1946. The Belém tramway was the first large tram system in Brazil to close, reportedly for financial reasons, on 27 April 1947.




About 40 km north of Belém a small animal-powered tramway seems to have operated on the island of Mosqueiro. The only clues to its existence are two entries in the Brill order books, nos. 18405 of 19/6/1912 and 19121 of 18/9/1913, and the corresponding photograph reproduced herein.



Santo Antônio do Prata

About 100 km east of Belém a 600 mm gauge animal tramway operated between the Igarapé-Açu station of the Bragança Railroad and an orphanage at Santo Antônio do Prata. The 21 km line was inaugurated in 1907 and was replaced by a branch of the steam railroad in 1914.