RIO DE JANEIRO (1)
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the third-smallest state in Brazil but is one of the most populous. Its capital city of the same name was the seat of the federal government for 197 years, and its ports handle produce not only from Rio de Janeiro state but also from the rich landlocked state of Minas Gerais. Rio de Janeiro state was the center of the coffee industry until slavery was abolished in 1888 and new agricultural regions developed in São Paulo state and Paraná. Its population jumped from three to ten million in 1975 when the city of Rio de Janeiro became its new capita1. [The city of Rio de Janeiro was capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960. When the federal government moved to Brasília on 21 April 1960, Rio de Janeiro became capital of the new state of Guanabara, which was the area of the former Federal District. Guanabara state was dissolved into Rio de Janeiro state on 15 March 1975 and Rio de Janeiro became the new capital of an enlarged Rio de Janeiro state. In this study, the city of Rio de Janeiro will be considered in its present capacity as the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro.]
There were ten electric tramway systems in the area occupied by the present state: five in the city of Rio de Janeiro, a sixth at Campo Grande in Rio's suburbs and four others in the cities of Niterói, Petrópolis, Campos and Mendes. Rio de Janeiro and Niterói both also had steam tramways and both also experimented with battery trams. Gasoline trams operated in São Gonçalo, a suburb of Niterói, in Campos and on a private line at Ribeirão das Lajes. In addition to the animal-powered tramways in most of these cities, animal tramways also operated in Macaé, Magé, Nova Friburgo, Santa Cruz, Vassouras and on a 33 km interurban line across the northern border of Rio de Janeiro state.
The development of tramways in the city of Rio de Janeiro is the most complex in Brazil and deserves a separate book. Everything happened here first: the first animal-powered tramway, the first steam tramway, the first electric tramway, etc. Rio was the center of railroad and tramway experiments for the nation and had more tramway companies, trams, types of trams, tram gauges and kilometers of tram track than any other city. As recently as 1963 the area still had seven separate tram systems operating a wide variety of equipment on three gauges. Two of these - with different gauges - still operate today. Only an outline of this development can be presented here.
"River of January" is the name that Portuguese explorers gave to Guanabara Bay when they sailed down the Brazilian coast in January 1502. French Huguenots established the first settlement on the bay in 1555 and for 200 years the region was claimed alternately by the French and the Portuguese. The first Portuguese settlement, called São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, was established on 1 March 1565 by Estácio de Sá, who is commemorated today in the "Estácio" station of the Rio de Janeiro metrô. With its tropical foliage, white sand beaches and familiar jagged mountains dropping into the sea Rio de Janeiro is indisputably one of the world's most beautiful, and distinctive, cities.
The first tramway in Rio de Janeiro, which seems to have been the second tramway in South America, was built by an English homeopathic physician named Thomas Cochrane. Cochrane and a Brazilian, Irenéo Evangelista de Souza, the Baron of Mauá, were the railway pioneers in Brazi1. [Trams began running in Santiago, Chile, in 1857. See discussion of Cochrane and Mauá in General History, Part 4, above.]
Cochrane acquired the first concession to build a railroad in Brazil - from Rio west to São Paulo - on 1 June 1839. His project floundered and he sold his franchise back to the government in 1855. The Baron of Mauá acquired a concession to build another line, from Rio north to Petrópolis, in 1852. Mauá built the first railroad in Brazil, a 14.5 km section from the port of Mauá (on Guanabara Bay) to Fragoso, which was inaugurated on 30 April 1854. (The remainder of the route to Petrópolis, which involved a rack section, wasn't completed until 1883.)
Within a two-week period in 1856 two concessions were awarded to build tramways in the city of Rio de Janeiro. On 12 March a Brazilian, Cândido Batista d'Oliveira, acquired rights to build a line from the center of the city south to the Botanical Garden. And on 29 March Thomas Cochrane acquired rights to build a tramway from the center of the city west to Tijuca. Oliveira's venture failed and he sold his franchise to Mauá in 1862. Cochrane formed the Companhia de Carris de Ferro da Cidade a Tijuca on 9 July 1856 and, with funds from the sale of his railroad concession, began construction of the Tijuca tramway on 27 April 1857. Track gauge was the same as that of the Fragoso railroad: 1676 mm (5 ft 6 in). The origin of the cars is unknown: they may have been built at Mauá's shipyard in Niterói, by a Danish carriagemaker in Rio named Röhe & Irmãos (whose factory was on the line), or by the John Stephenson Company in New York, which built the equipment for South America's first tramway in Santiago, Chile.
Tests began in 1858 and passenger service on Cochrane's tramway was inaugurated on 30 January 1859: Brazil may have been the fifth country in the world to operate a tramway, preceded only by the U.S. (1832), France (1855), Chile (1857) and Mexico (1858). Scheduled operation began the next day and the cars were christened by Emperor Dom Pedro II on 26 March. The line was 7 km long and the public called the trams maxambombas: this was the nickname for the coaches on the Dom Pedro II Railroad that had opened part of its route to São Paulo (Cochrane's first concession) on 29 March 1858. Population of the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1859 was 150,000.
Two horse trams on a 7 km route did not provide good service and meager revenues did not keep the line in working order. Mauá became president of the company in 1861 and asked the government for permission to replace the horsecars with steam trams. The concession was granted on 21 September 1861 "on condition that the new vehicles look like ordinary cars and have their boiler and transmission apparatus hidden from sight" [quoted by Dunlop in his Subsídios (1957), p. 191; see Rio de Janeiro bibliography, Part 8, below]. Steam trams, of unknown origin but apparently of this design, replaced the animal trams on the Tijuca line in September 1862 [records of Joseph Wright & Sons of Saltley, England, show an "earth wagon" for the Tijuca Railway in 1862; but no source could be found for the locomotive(s)]. This seems to have been the third steam tramway in the world, preceded by operations in 1849 in Philadelphia and 1860 in San Francisco, U.S.A. The new cars derailed frequently and the line closed on 28 November 1866.
Mauá's attention turned to his concession for a tram route to the Botanical Garden and he founded the Companhia de Caminho de Carris de Ferro do Jardim Botânico on 18 November 1862. But there were no buyers for his stock: the banks were disillusioned by the failure of the Tijuca line. Brazil's tramway development might have remained stymied for many years had it not been for the enthusiasm and adventurous spirit of Charles B. Greenough, chief engineer and general manager of the Bleecker Street & Fulton Ferry Rail Road in New York.
Greenough had a disagreement with his New York company and wanted to build a railway of his own. He heard of developments in Brazil, traveled to Rio de Janeiro, bought Mauá's concession on 21 November 1866 and founded the Botanical Garden Rail Road Company in New York. The Brazilian government was reluctant to allow another foreigner to build another street railway in its capital, but permission was finally granted on 22 June 1868. In the midst of Brazil's war with Paraguay, Emperor Dom Pedro II presided at the inauguration of Rio de Janeiro's second tramway, a 3 km line from the Rua do Ouvidor to the Largo do Machado, on 9 October 1868.
Unlike Cochrane, Greenough had tramway experience, 17 stockholders and $500,000, and his line was a great success. Within six weeks the route was extended to Botafogo and by July 1869 there were 19 streetcars running in Rio de Janeiro, all built by John Stephenson in New York. The first cars were closed models, but open trams appeared in 1870 and established the design for all the tram companies in Rio de Janeiro and most other cities in Brazil. On 1 January 1871 the line reached the Botanical Garden, 10 km from downtown. By 1879 the company had telephone communication between its tram stations. Because it was elaborately built, well managed and served the affluent neighborhoods on the south side of Rio de Janeiro, the Botanical Garden Rail Road became the prestige tramway system in Brazil. Track gauge, like that of the streetcar lines in New York, was 1435 mm.
Word of Greenough's accomplishment swept the hemisphere and Albert H. Hager, another American, founded the Rio de Janeiro Street Railway in New York in 1869. The Brazilian government gave Hager permission without delay, construction began in September and Emperor Dom Pedro II rode in one of the 14 streetcars that inaugurated the third tram system in the nation's capital on 25 November 1869. The first line ran to the palace grounds at Quinta da Boa Vista. Routes to Caju and São Cristóvão followed and on 19 January 1870 the horsecars of the Rio de Janeiro Street Railway reopened the route of Cochrane's pioneer tramway to Tijuca.
The gauge of the Rio de Janeiro Street Railway was 1372 mm (4 ft 6 in). Hager moved his headquarters from New York to Rio in 1873 an renamed his railway the Companhia de São Cristóvão. This system served primarily the neighborhoods immediately west of downtown.
The city's fourth tramway system, the Companhia Ferro-Carril da Vila Isabel, was founded by a Brazilian, João Batista Viana Drumond, on 18 July 1872. Drumond inaugurated his first line on 29 November 1873 to the Vila Isabel zoo, which he also founded, and track soon reached Engenho Novo, Méier and the suburbs along the Dom Pedro II Railroad on the northwest side of town. Like the Botanical Garden tram system in the "Zona Sul," track gauge of the Vila Isabel tramway in the "Zona Norte" was 1435 mm.
In the next five years four small tram systems opened in the central area of the city: the Companhia Locomotora in 1872, the Companhia Ferro Carril Fluminense in 1873, the Empreza de Carris de Ferro de Santa Theresa in 1875, and the Companhia Ferro Carril Carioca e Riachuelo in 1877. All these lines had 820 mm (32 1/4 in) gauge and were reorganized as the Companhia Carris Urbanos on 1 January 1879. Most photographs of horsecars in downtown Rio de Janeiro show the initials "CCU" on the side. In addition to passenger service, the tramway lines in the downtown area and along the docks did a considerable freight business.
A suburban tramway company, the Ferro-Carril de Jacarepaguá, inaugurated a line 15 km west of downtown on 1 March 1875. Cars ran from the Cascadura station of the Dom Pedro II Railroad to Taquara and Freguesia, total track distance: 11 km. Gauge of this tram system was one meter.
The Empreza de Carris de Ferro de Santa Theresa established the first routes of the Santa Teresa tramway system that still operates in Rio de Janeiro today. The company had a franchise to build a tram route up Santa Teresa hill, but the 820 mm gauge line that opened on 25 May 1875, and which passed to the Carris Urbanos company in 1879, ran only in the flat downtown area of the city and along Rua Riachuelo at the foot of the hill. To serve the Santa Teresa community on top of the hill the company built an inclined plane railway and a separate hilltop tramway, which opened on 13 March 1877. The inclined railway began at Rua Riachuelo and Ladeira do Castro (a spot presently occupied by the Hotel Nice), was 513 meters (about 1/3 mile) long and had a tunnel and three trestles. The top station was on the site of the present carbarn. The tracks of the hilltop tramway were laid to 914 mm (3 ft) gauge and ran from the upper station of the inclined plane to Largo do França and Curvelo. Equipment for both the funicular and the tramway was built by John Stephenson in New York.
The tramway lines on Santa Teresa hill were not acquired by the Carris Urbanos company and remained independent of all other tramway operations in Rio de Janeiro for 87 years. The name of the company was changed to Empresa do Plano Inclinado de Santa Theresa on 28 March 1885, to the Société Anonyme de Travaux et Entreprises au Brésil on 15 December 1888, and to the Companhia Ferro-Carril Carioca on 12 February 1891.
Rio de Janeiro's six horsecar systems operated separately and independently until the end of the 19th century: the 820 mm Carris Urbanos lines downtown, the 914 mm Santa Teresa system on the hill, the 1000 mm Jacarepaguá lines in the suburbs, the 1372 mm São Cristóvão system west of downtown and the two 1435 mm networks: the Vila Isabel lines in the "Zona Norte" and the Botanical Garden system in the "Zona Sul."
Greenough died in 1880 and on 29 January 1883 the Botanical Garden Rail Road was reformed as the Ferro-Carril do Jardim Botânico: the company had 66 passenger cars, 15 freight cars, 36 km of track and 874 mules. In 1887 it acquired a parlor car from the Gilbert Car Company in Troy, New York. (Another parlor car built a decade earlier by John Stephenson in New York sank with the ship on which it was traveling to Brazil.) In 1881 the São Cristóvão tramway company had 75 open cars, 28 closed cars, 50 km of track and 1,608 mules. In 1882 it returned steam trams to the Tijuca line and built a parlor car for the imperial family (whose residence was on its line). In 1883 the Elevador Paula Mattos inaugurated a new means of transportation to Santa Teresa: a 38 m (125 ft) vertical tower, similar to the Lacerda structure in Salvador, was erected on Rua Riachuelo, opposite Ave. Henrique Valadares, four blocks west of the inclined plane; a 33 m ramp connected the top of the lift with the hillside. In 1885 the Companhia Carris Urbanos had 100 passenger cars, 85 freight cars, 68 km of track and 1,632 mules. The Vila Isabel tram company annexed two new tram systems, the Ferro Carril Villa Guarani and Ferro Carril Cachambi, and was bought by two Englishmen, Charles Henry Sanford and Francis Arthur Borwen, on 9 November 1889; it had 67 passenger cars, nine freight cars, 37 km of track and 800 mules. On 20 December 1890 the Santa Teresa tramway system inaugurated its extension to Silvestre. In 1890 when the population of Rio de Janeiro was 520,000, the city's 720 trams carried 48 million passengers. There were 250 km of track and approximately 6,000 mules on the streets.
It was during this period that a rack railway - a steam tramway of sorts - was constructed to the top of Corcovado, the jagged mountain peak overlooking Guanabara Bay. The Estrada de Ferro do Corcovado inaugurated the first section of the line on 9 October 1884 and trains reached the summit, 670 m (2,198 ft) above Copacabana Beach, on 18 July 1885. Miniature steam locomotives pushed open coaches on the first tourist railroad in South America. (It was the second rack railroad in Brazil: the Petrópolis line opened in 1883.) From the top station passengers climbed another 40 meters - 222 steps - to see the famous view. Length of the railway was 4 km and gauge was meter.
The first attempt at electric tramway operation in Rio de Janeiro took place during the Brazilian Railway Exposition of 1887. The Ferro-Carril do Jardim Botânico outfitted one of its cars with a Julien storage battery and transported guests from the exposition grounds to the Largo dos Leões on the evening of 2 July. This was the second experiment with battery trams in Brazil - the first was in Niterói - and the press called the invention "one of the greatest accomplishments of the 19th century." Unfortunately, a second Jardim Botânico excursion two weeks later failed: the gears overheated, the axles froze and the car could not reach the end of the line. Storage batteries were used successfully to power buses in Rio de Janeiro after World War I, but they were not tried again on trams.
The electric tramway era in Rio de Janeiro started officially in 1891 with the simultaneous construction of two separate street railway systems using overhead wires. Both were engineered by the Thomson-Houston Company of Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.A., which became the General Electric Company in 1892, and which built a third electric tramway in Rio de Janeiro in 1896. The first electric tramway built in Rio, oddly, was not the first to operate.
Since the 1860s there had been attempts to build a railway from the end of the horsecar line at Tijuca up the mountain to a park, at altitude 385 m (1,263 ft), called Alto da Boa Vista. A steam line was proposed in 1870 and franchises for rack railways were awarded in 1882 and 1886. Little was accomplished until the Companhia Estrada de Ferro da Tijuca was formed on 4 October 1890 and permission was granted to build a 600 mm gauge adhesion railway using electric power. Adolpho Aschoff, the company's general manager and engineer, signed a contract with Thomson-Houston which, in late 1890, sent a 24-year-old American engineer to Rio de Janeiro named James Mitchell [see footnote 5 in General History, Part 4, above]. Mitchell and Aschoff ordered materials from New York: two Babcock & Wilcox boilers, a 200 HP MacIntosh-Seymour steam engine, four 62 kw 500 volt Thomson-Houston generators, 12 John Stephenson electric trams. The latter consisted of six 10-bench first-class passenger cars, three 6-bench combination passenger / baggage cars and three freight cars. On 7 November 1891 the company secured permission to extend the railway 4 km beyond Alto da Boa Vista to a spot in the Carioca mountains called Fazenda do Mocke, and from Tijuca to downtown Rio via an 8-km steel trestle patterned after the elevated railway in New York...
The power plant was installed at the end of Rua Conde de Bonfim (corner Rua São Miguel), 600 mm gauge track was laid and overhead wire was strung for a distance of 5 km along a winding mountain path to Alto da Boa Vista. Work began on the extensions at both ends. The 12 wine-colored trolleys, "TIJUCA" emblazoned in gold letters on the side, arrived in Rio in 1891 and the company ran out of money. Activity on the line ceased in 1893 and the franchise for operation expired on 20 January 1894. The 12 electric cars, which might have been the first to operate in South America, gathered dust in the carbarn for seven years. The Alto da Boa Vista trolley line remained unused until 1898. (See below.)
Meanwhile, James Mitchell had been engaged to supervise construction of another electric tramway in the Zona Sul. José de Cupertino Coelho Cintra, manager and chief engineer of the Ferro-Carril do Jardim Botânico, signed a contract with Thomson-Houston in early 1891. Mitchell's plans for the line on the bay were more modest than his plans on the mountain: the MacIntosh-Seymour steam engines had only 35 HP, there was only one Thomson-Houston generator, the Babcock & Wilcox boiler was rated at 90 HP, and there were only three motor cars. Mitchell and Coelho Cintra installed the power plant in the horsecar depot on Rua 2 de Dezembro and strung overhead wire along a 3 km route between Largo da Carioca and Largo do Machado. This was approximately the same route where Botanical Garden horsecars had originated Rio's first successful tram service 24 years before. Track gauge remained at 1435 mm and, like the horsecars and Tijuca cars, the new electric cars were built by the John Stephenson Company in New York. The Jardim Botânico trams had eight benches, incandescent lights, walk-around trolley poles and Robinson radial 3-axle trucks.
The first trials of the new tramway took place on 12 August 1892. At 1 PM on Saturday 8 October 1892, Marshall Floriano Peixoto, the Vice-President of the newly-established Republic of Brazil, rode on Jardim Botânico tram 104 which inaugurated the first electric streetcar line in Rio de Janeiro. It was not only the first electric tramway - it was the first electric railway of any kind to operate in the Western Hemisphere outside Canada and the United States [see footnote 6 in General History, Part 4, above].
Jardim Botânico ordered five more electric cars from Stephenson and five bodies from the Companhia Forjas e Estaleiros, a foundry in Niterói, in 1893. In the company's 1894 Annual Report, James Mitchell describes problems with the radial trucks, so the new cars presumably had two axles. On 13 May 1894 electric traction was inaugurated on Rua do Catete - the original horsecar route to Largo do Machado - and two more electric lines opened in the Flamengo area in 1896. By the end of that year, there were 25 electric streetcars operating in Rio de Janeiro. The company began to build its own electric trams in 1897 and had a fleet of 85 trolleys by 1903. On 1 November 1901 Jardim Botânico ran its first electric car through a tunnel to Copacabana. (Horsecars had opened the tunnel in 1892.) Within a few years electric trams helped transform the barren sandy strip along the Atlantic Ocean into the most densely populated beach resort on earth.
The second electric tramway to begin operation in Rio de Janeiro - the third actually to be constructed - was the Ferro-Carril Carioca. Transferring from horsecar to inclined plane to horsecar was a laborious way to reach Santa Teresa, and the Carioca management hired James Mitchell and the General Electric Company to rebuild the streetcar system in 1895. Materials for the power plant once again came from the United States. Seven 8-bench electric cars, with Peckham 4-wheel trucks, were ordered from John Stephenson in New York.
Reconstruction of the Santa Teresa tramway involved three extraordinary innovations: (1) to gain access to the center of the city tracks were laid on top of an abandoned 18th century aqueduct - 45 m above the ground - between Santa Teresa and Santo Antônio hills; (2) an unusual downtown terminus was built on the second floor of the company's office building on Largo da Carioca; (3) track gauge of the tram system was changed to an odd 1100 mm (43 1/4 in) - which is still used by the tram system today.
The first electric tram in Santa Teresa, between Largo da Carioca and Largo do França, was inaugurated on 1 September 1896. The route was extended to Lagoinha (near Dois Irmãos) on Christmas Day and to the Silvestre station of the Corcovado rack railway on 25 February 1897. On 23 June 1897 the first tram reached Paula Mattos - horsecars had never run there. In nine months the 12 km Carioca railway had been completely electrified. It was the first totally electric tramway system in South America.
The Paula Mattos elevator closed on 26 October 1896 and was dismantled. The Santa Teresa inclined plane closed in 1900, was electrified and reopened in 1906.
Meanwhile, the Estrada de Ferro da Tijuca had been reprieved by the Banco do Brasil. The company's franchise was renewed by the government on 1 November 1897, on condition that it regauge its track from 600 to 1435 mm. Work recommenced, new Schmidt boilers replaced rusted Babcock & Wilcox units, track, ties, poles and overhead wire were rebuilt. Trucks for some of the cars were regauged; new Peckham trucks were bought for the others. The new 1435 mm gauge Estrada de Ferro da Tijuca, which ran from the powerhouse at Usina to the top of the mountain at Alto da Boa Vista, opened for revenue service on 14 September 1898. Passengers took the São Cristóvão horsecar (1372 mm gauge) to the end of the line, at the end of Rua Conde de Bonfim, then changed to the electric tram.
The inner end of the line was extended, parallel to the horsecar line, to Muda on 16 September 1899, and the Estrada de Ferro da Tijuca was sold to the São Cristóvão tramway company on 22 September 1903. There was a plan to regauge the Tijuca line a third time to 1372 mm, but it was decided to regauge the horsecar lines instead. When tracks beyond Muda were electrified in 1906 electric trams ran all the way from Alto da Boa Vista to the city. The Alto da Boa Vista electric tramway, which was one of the first electric lines to run in the city, was also the last standard-gauge line to run in the city, in 1967.
At the turn of the century Rio de Janeiro had three electric tram systems: the Tijuca railroad on the mountain, the Carioca tramway in Santa Teresa and the Jardim Botânico network in the Zona Sul. In addition to the electric systems the city still had four horsecar systems, which had grown to considerable size: the Companhias Vila Isabel, São Cristóvão, Carris Urbanos and Jacarepaguá. And steam-powered trams, of sorts, still climbed the rack railway to Corcovado. Within the next ten years the city's tranportation network would be completely transformed.
On 8 July 1899, the Vila Isabel company was purchased by a German firm, Brasilianische Elektricitäts Gesellschaft, which had installed the telephone system in the city. BEG ordered 55 eight-bench electric trams from Van der Zypen & Charlier of Köln and engaged Siemens-Schuckertwerke of Berlin to reconstruct the railway. Siemens installed Büthner boilers and Odesse pumps that produced 2,000 HP of electricity. Overhead wire was strung along Senado, Caldwell and Eusébio Streets and the first electric tram ran in the Zona Norte, between Praça Tiradentes and Rua Matoso, on 1 July 1905. Electric lines opened to Aldeia Campista and Tijuca in 1906 and German trams reached Engenho Novo, 11 km from the center of the city, on 10 March 1907. Vila Isabel electric cars introduced German-style bow collectors to Rio de Janeiro. Jardim Botânico, Carioca and Tijuca trams had American-style trolley poles. The city now had four separate electric tram systems.
The Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power Company was formed in Ottawa, Canada, by Alexander Mackenzie, a Toronto lawyer, Percival Farquhar, a New York industrialist, and Frederick Pearson, a New York engineer, on 9 July 1904. Mackenzie and Pearson had founded the São Paulo Tramway, Light & Power Company in 1899 and inaugurated electric traction in São Paulo in 1900. The new Canadian organization acquired permission to operate in Rio de Janeiro on 30 May 1905, began construction of a hydroelectric plant at Ribeirão das Lajes (70 km northwest of Rio) in 1906 and purchased the Vila Isabel, São Cristóvão and Carris Urbanos tramway systems - as well as the telephone company and local gas works - on 6 November 1907.
Mackenzie, Farquhar and Pearson electrified all the tram lines in Rio de Janeiro within 28 months. Track of the former São Cristóvão and Carris Urbanos systems was relaid to 1435 mm gauge. The last horsecar ran in the city on 26 March 1910.
The North Americans were opposed in Rio de Janeiro, as in São Paulo and, later, Salvador, by the Guinle family of Brazil which had acquired the General Electric franchise from James Mitchell. RJTL&P ordered one electric passenger car from Brill in 1905 (o.n. 14592) and acquired 25 St. Louis trams in 1909, but thereafter bought no further passenger equipment from the United States. [The 25 St. Louis cars are believed to have come from order 805 of 4 November 1908, which was canceled by the Ferro-Carril Carioca (see below). An earlier St. Louis order for 35 cars for Rio, number 624 dated 2 February 1906, was transfered to Niterói (see chapter on that city). A dozen 12-bench cars for Bytton Brothers of Rio de Janeiro, orders 780 and 781 of January 1908, went to Belo Horizonte.] Ten 10-bench electric cars came from Brush Electrical in Loughborough, England, in 1907; 50 similar l0-bench cars came from United Electric in Preston, England, in 1908; and in 1908-09 the Canadians built fifty l0-bench electric passenger trams of their own in the Vila Isabel shops. In the same 2-year period the Trajano de Medeiros Company in Rio supplied thirteen l0-bench cars and eight double-truck 13-bench models. RJTL&P turned out its first 13-bench tram in 1909 and thereafter built all its own passenger equipment. Between 1909 and 1929 it purchased 542 tram motors from United Electric. On 1 January 1910 Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power had 213 passenger motor cars, 210 passenger trailers and 70 electric freight vehicles running on 221 km of track in the Zona Norte and the downtown area of the city. By 1912 the number of passenger motor cars had increased to 340.
In addition to the three streetcar companies RJTL&P also purchased and electrified the Corcovado rack railway. Four electric locomotives built by SLM/Oerlikon of Winterthur, Switzerland, reopened the line on 7 January 1910: they had twin trolley poles on the back only, which were lowered for the descent. Gauge remained at meter, and since a locomotive and a coach form a train the Corcovado rack railway is often considered the first electric railroad in Brazil. RJTL&P also acquired, regauged (to 1435 mm) and electrified the two Jacarepaguá tramway lines in 1911.
In 1920 Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power Company had 450 passenger cars running on 350 km of track. In 1926 the name of the organization was translated and officially changed to Companhia de Carris, Luz e Força do Rio de Janeiro. But Brazilians continued to refer to it as, simply, "a Light" (the Light). Both the São Paulo and Rio "Light" companies became part of the Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Company on 12 July 1912.
The Jardim Botânico and Carioca tram systems were not involved in the Canadian enterprise. However, RJTL&P (or CCLFRJ) owned much of the stock of these companies and a physical connection was made between the Light and Jardim Botânico tracks at Lapa in 1909. In 1910 Jardim Botânico replaced trolley poles on its cars with bow collectors, as were used by Light, and after 1911 both the Jardim Botânico and Carioca companies bought electricity from Light. In later years Light and Jardim Botânico exchanged trams and there were mutual workings in the center of town. In 1912 the Jardim Botânico company had 120 passenger motor cars, 169 passenger trailers and a dozen freight cars running on 76 km of track in the Zona Sul. Trams departed from a unique off-street terminal in the Hotel Avenida on Avenida Rio Branco.
The Carioca tramway remained physically separate from the other systems because of its 1100 mm gauge; wider tracks would not fit on the aqueduct. It remained financially separate because of a situation which developed in 1908 when it tried to build one of the world's most preposterous trolley lines.
For 50 years men had dreamt of excursion railways in the Carioca mountains, between the Zona Norte and the Zona Sul, where the air is cooler and there are spectacular views over the city. The Baron of Mauá planned a line in 1857, English engineers surveyed a route in 1861-62 (which involved five viaducts and 11 tunnels), and French and Belgians planned mountain railroads in 1865 and 1866. The Corcovado rack railway was finally built in 1884 and the Alto da Boa Vista line opened in 1898. In 1903 the Ferro-Carril Carioca secured a franchise to build an extensive network of mountain trolley lines that would surpass both of these in grandeur, connect Corcovado with Alto da Boa Vista, and cross the Tijuca National Forest. Construction began on 23 June 1904. The first 5 km of the line was finished in two years and a tram carried guests to Sumaré, at 325 m altitude, on 25 April 1906. A restaurant was built on the site and the line opened to the public on 10 November 1906. Construction continued on the section beyond and track and wire are believed to have reached Itaici, at altitude 705 m, higher than the railway at Corcovado. But it is not known if a tram ever ran there. The company could not pay its bills, there were power problems on the 7% grade, storms weakened or washed out the roadbed and a dispute arose between stockholders and the construction company in 1908. The last scheduled trolley may have run to Sumaré at that time, although there are claims that excursions continued until 1912. (The public's fancy turned to the new aerial cableway on Sugar Loaf mountain.) The route was graded from Itaici to Alto da Boa Vista and there is evidence that tracks were laid and some kind of vehicle ran on this section. The entire 18 km route, from Lagoinha to Alto da Boa Vista, was dismantled in 1927 and turned into an automobile road. The Estrada do Sumaré was damaged by storms in the 1960s, rebuilt in the 1970s, and little evidence of the trolley line remains today.
One of the casualties of the Sumaré fiasco was an order for 25 new trams which the Ferro-Carril Carioca placed with the St. Louis Car Company on 4 November 1908 (o.n. 805). There is no indication in company records that such cars were delivered or ran in Santa Teresa. The only equipment which Carioca acquired during this period was two Tijuca electric cars, which Light had replaced on the Alto da Boa Vista line, and 12 Carris Urbanos horsecars for use as trailers. Carioca rebuilt both to 1100 mm gauge and began building its own trams in 1910. IBGE reports say it had 12 passenger motor cars in 1912.
Nearly as incredible as the construction of the Sumaré line was the inauguration of a new horsecar line in the city on 28 September 1911. The Rio de Janeiro Suburban Tramway Limited was a subsidiary of the Atlas Investment Corporation, an English organization which controlled public utilities in Uruguay and Argentina. The company was called Linha Circular Suburbana de Tramways in Rio and the animal line ran from the Magno (Madureira) station of Central of Brazil's "Linha Auxiliar" to Irajá. Distance was 5.7 km, track gauge was 1435 mm and the cars were purchased second-hand from Light. Light acquired the LCS on 28 March 1928 and converted the line to electric traction on 12 October 1928. It could be said that the British built the first (1859) and the last (1911) animal tramways in Brazil.
Still another new tramway system - electric and completely isolated from the rest - began operation in 1922. Ilha do Governador is an island in Guanabara Bay, part of the city of Rio de Janeiro, 10 km directly north of downtown. Until Rio's international airport was installed on its western half in 1951, the island was accessible only by ferryboat, and a string of communities grew up along the eastern shore north of the ferryboat terminal at Ribeira. Plans for a tramway from the mainland originated in 1908. Construction began in 1921 and the completed line ran only from Ribeira to Freguesia and Bananal, and never reached the mainland. The Companhia Melhoramentos ("Improvements") da Ilha do Governador inaugurated service on 4 October 1922, length was 7 km, gauge was 1435 mm and the seven motor cars and 11 trailers came second-hand from the Jardim Botânico: the original trams built by Stephenson and Jardim Botânico in the 1890s. The city acquired the CMIG on 23 April 1933 and the operator for the next 30 years was Viação Elétrica da Ilha do Governador. The tramway on Governor's Island was never acquired by Rio de Janeiro TL&P.
The Ferro-Carril Carioca built a parlor car for the visit of King Albert I of Belgium in 1920, and ordered five trams from Dyle & Bacalan of Leuven, Belgium, in 1925. In 1926 the company's 2-story terminal on Largo da Carioca was dismantled and a new tram route was built on Rua Muratori. With a new transfer point on Rua Riachuelo to the Light lines, the inclined plane was no longer needed and closed in 1930. As streets in the Largo da Carioca area were widened Santa Teresa cars used a series of temporary terminals downtown; on 11 December 1933 a trolley loop was inaugurated inside the 12-story Ordem Terceira Building. Jardim Botânico trams moved to the Tabuleiro da Baiana, a covered station on the other side of the square, in 1937. All of these buildings and tram terminals disappeared in the 1960s with the leveling of Santo Antônio hill and the construction of the Rio de Janeiro metrô.
For a 42-year period from 1921 until 1963 Rio de Janeiro had five electric tramway operations: Light, Jardim Botânico, Carioca, Corcovado and Ilha do Governador. The first three accounted for 98% of the tram business, which reached its peak after World War II. In 1950, streetcars in Rio de Janeiro carried 1.5 billion passengers. The Light company, which operated all the routes in the center of the city and the Zona Norte as far as Alto da Boa Vista, Jacarepaguá and Irajá, had 488 passenger motor cars, 501 passenger trailers, 94 work cars and 505 km of track. The Jardim Botânico company, which served the Zona Sul and the beach neighborhoods, Sugar Loaf and Copacabana, had 153 motor cars, 140 trailers, 36 freight cars and 130 km of track. The Carioca company, which ran from Largo da Carioca across the aqueduct to Santa Teresa, had 26 motor cars, 21 trailers, 9 work cars and 15 km of single track. Total: 1,468 trams - 667 motors, 662 trailers, 139 work cars - and 650 km of track, which was by far the largest tramway network in Brazil.
Most of the passenger cars that ran in Rio de Janeiro during this period were built by the tram companies themselves. Trucks came from the U.S. and motors and controllers came from England, but the bodies were made in Brazil. Early German and English cars were scrapped and, unlike other cities, Rio bought no second-hand street-cars from North America. (It shifted equipment between companies, however: Jardim Botânico sold cars to the Campo Grande and Ilha do Governador tramways and the Tijuca company sent some of its trolleys to the Carioca line.) Between 1900 and 1960 the Light company built 932 trams; the Jardim Botânico company built 311; and the Carioca company built 28. Many of these were of course reconstructions: the trams that run on the Santa Teresa system today were built in Brazil but have English Electric motors, General Electric controllers and Peckham 9-A trucks.
Compared to the equipment in other cities, streetcars in Rio de Janeiro were remarkably uniform: with few exceptions all were open models with either 10 or 13 benches. Only the Jardim Botânico company ran a few second-class closed trailers. In the 1920s most of the open cars on the Light and Jardim Botânico systems were screened on one side and made single-end: a turning loop was installed at the terminus of each line. Rio de Janeiro streetcars were also peculiarly anonymous: except in the early days neither Rio Light nor Jardim Botânico nor Carioca ever put its name, or even its initials, on its equipment.
The end began in the 1950s. Because of the city's topography traffic problems were worse than in perhaps any other city. Trams, buses and an increasing number of automobiles shared narrow arteries squeezed between mountains and sea. The only solution, startling as it seems, was to level the mountains and fill in the sea. As new, parallel arteries were created virtually every street in the city, even in distant suburban areas, was made one-way. Two-way tram traffic was no longer possible and in postwar years, with cheap gasoline and motorbuses, the tram companies were not inclined to rebuild tram routes.
Trams were removed from several downtown streets, the waterfront and the Rio Comprido area in the 1950s. Many short lines in the Vila Isabel and Méier districts closed. In the late 1950s most of the tram routes of the former São Cristóvão system were eliminated - except the line to Caju, where trams were driven to be burned. Streetcars were removed from the tunnels in the Zona Sul and the depot at Largo dos Leões was shut. In 1958 the south side of Santo Antônio hill was removed, which threatened the Ferro-Carril Carioca: the Ordem Terceira terminal was closed on 30 January 1959 and the railway was cut back to a new station on Avenida Chile, its fifth since 1926. At midnight 31 December 1960 the Ferro-Carril do Jardim Botânico, which had originated the tram industry in Brazil, passed out of existence. The tram routes that remained in Rio's south side became the property of the Junta de Administração Provisória dos Bondes da Zona Sul. The Light company announced that it also wanted to get out of the transportation business.
The state of Guanabara created the Companhia de Transportes Coletivos and ordered 200 trolleybuses from Fiat. The first electric bus ran to Morro da Viúva, in the Zona Sul, on 3 September 1962 and trackless routes soon crisscrossed the city. The last tram in the Zona Sul ran on 21 May 1963. Abandonments continued in the Zona Norte and on 1 January 1964 the remaining tram routes of the Light and Carioca systems, as well as the Corcovado and Ilha do Governador lines, were acquired by the CTC: the Canadians were out of the tram business and for the first time in a century all trams in Rio de Janeiro were operated by the same organization. The new company cut the Zona Norte routes back to the railroad station and announced that trams would be eliminated completely from the city by the end of 1964. On 1 January 1965 five tram depots were still open and cars still ran to Santa Teresa, Alto da Boa Vista, Engenho Novo, Cascadura, Jacarepaguá and Bananal. And also to the Christ statue on Corcovado.
The year 1965 marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of Rio de Janeiro and, perhaps inspired by the interest shown in its trams by foreign tourists, the city decided to keep the Santa Teresa lines and turn the Alto da Boa Vista route into a tourist operation. Ten 13-bench cars were rebuilt into streamlined closed models, fitted with upholstered seats, painted silver and blue and renumbered 01 to 10. The "Rita Pavone" trams, as they were nicknamed in Brazil, inaugurated a new service from Praça da Bandeira, near the Vila Isabel barn, to Alto da Boa Vista on 24 January 1965. A smaller closed car, numbered 101, was built for the Santa Teresa system: since it was single-end it could run only on the Paula Mattos line which had loops at both ends. Other routes continued to close: Engenho Novo, Lins de Vasconcelos and Piedade on 13 March; the tramway on Ilha do Governador on 10 April; Cascadura, the longest line in the city, on 17 May. After May 1965 Rio de Janeiro had only four small disconnected tram operations hidden in its hills: the Santa Teresa tramway, the Corcovado railway, the Alto da Boa Vista line and the two tram routes from Cascadura to Jacarepaguá.
On 10 January 1966 Rio de Janeiro was struck by a hurricane which killed 894 people. Landslides, fallen trees and buildings knocked down all wires in the city and brought electric transport to a halt. The Corcovado line reopened in February in time for Carnaval, but tram service was not restored to Santa Teresa until April. Wire was never replaced on Rua Muratori and the Silvestre route remained permanently closed beyond Dois Irmãos. Trams never ran again in Jacarepaguá. Several trolleybus routes in the Zona Sul were eliminated and new trackless routes were constructed in the Zona Norte.
The Alto da Boa Vista line was reopened in shortened form, beyond Tijuca, in May. A small tram depot was constructed at the end of the line in Alto da Boa Vista and the route was restored to its original - and final - form on Christmas Day 1966. Cars ran only from Usina up the mountain to Alto da Boa Vista - precisely the same route that the Estrada de Ferro da Tijuca had originated in 1891! Another storm struck the city on 22 January 1967 and closed the line again. It reopened in March, struggled with two cars for several months, closed, reopened, operated intermittently and was finally declared permanently abandoned on 21 December 1967. Within two weeks the tracks had been removed and the trams destroyed.
All trolleybuses were removed from the Zona Sul by 1969 and the last trolleybus line in the city, from Méier to Jacarepaguá, operated in April 1971. On 31 January 1975 Santa Teresa trolleys moved into a new modern terminal - their sixth - in the gardens of the Petrobrás oil company. In April 1977 the Corcovado railway closed for reconstruction; it reopened on 19 March 1979 with new roadbed, track, overhead wires and Swiss cars which, this time, had twin pantographs. The first section of Rio's metrô, from Estácio to Glória, opened on 19 March 1979 and 8 km of the prémetrô, or superbonde, line, from Maria da Graça to Irajá, began operating 15 March 1983. Gauge is 1600 mm.
Today, single-truck open streetcars still run on the 1100 mm gauge Santa Teresa tramway to Paula Mattos and Dois Irmãos, and a Museu do Bonde under Petrobrás station exhibits tram artifacts. Both the Santa Teresa tramway and the Vila Guarani horsecar barn, built in 1883 at Rua Pedro Alves 210, have been declared national monuments. The Corcovado line is filled with tourists, the metro is expanding and there is an elaborate network of electric suburban trains to Itaguaí, Paracambi, Belford Roxo and Inhomirim. The latter line retraces part of the Estrada de Ferro Mauá, Brazil's first railroad, constructed in 1854 (see above).
The prémetrô line closed "temporarily" at the end of 1985, allegedly for lack of government funds. It should reopen soon to serve a new intercity bus terminal planned at Irajá.
Probably few Brazilians realize that Rio de Janeiro trolleys still run in the United States. CTC shipped twelve 1435 mm gauge cars to museums in 1965: single-truckers 322 and 441, and double-truckers 1718, 1719, 1758, 1774, 1779, 1794, 1850, 1875, 1887 and 1889. The 4-wheelers may have been built in England, but the 8-wheel cars (contrary to common belief) were all built in Brazil. Number 441 runs today at South Elgin, Illinois; 1718 and 1779 at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; 1794 in Chattanooga, Tennessee; 1850 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut; and 1875 at Orbisonia, Pennsylvania. The other six trams are in storage or have been scrapped.
Rio had several inclined plane railways. In addition to the line on Santa Teresa there were funiculars on Cantagalo hill in Copacabana and to the Hotel Moreau near Usina. The Cantagalo line closed in the 1920s but a new funicular was built to a favela on nearby Pavão hill in 1985. The Usina funicular was bought by Regina Coeli College in 1908, rebuilt, and still operates today at Rua Conde de Bonfim 1305. There was a private incline railway on Castelo Hill, until the hill was leveled in 1922, and a funicular operated on Corcovado mountain during construction of the Christ statue 1930-1931. Inclined planes were built to the church atop Glória hill in 1944 and to the Equitativa apartment complex in Lagoinha in 1951. These also still operate (intermittently). There is a bizarre monorail line in Santa Teresa, built in 1940, between Rua Almirante Alexandrino 2603 and the Vila Jardim Santa Cecília apartment complex.
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