Campo Grande / Santa Cruz / Niterói / Magé / Ribeirão das Lajes / Mendes / Barra do Piraí / Vassouras / Nova Friburgo / Manuel Duarte / Petrópolis / Campos / Macaé



Campo Grande

Campo Grande is a town of 20,000 (1980) on the Santa Cruz railroad line, 40 km west of downtown Rio, 23 km from the western extremity of the Rio tram system at Cascadura. Since it was in the former Federal District, it is technically part of the city of Rio de Janeiro today. But since it is geographically separated from Rio's main urban area by a mountain range, and so as not to complicate further the description of transportation in that city, it is discussed separately in this book.

Campo Grande is the center of an agricultural area that supplied the hay for the mules that pulled Rio's trams. The Carris Urbanos tramway company, which owned about 2,000 mules, built a tram line from the Campo Grande railroad station south to Monteiro in July 1894. Gauge was 820 mm, distance was 6 km and the mule-drawn cars carried only hay: animals pulled trams to feed animals that pulled trams. Small villages grew up along the line, the management changed in 1905 and passenger cars were placed in service in 1908. The IBGE report for 1912 lists 7 passenger cars, 3 freight cars and 30 mules.

A new contract in 1915 specified that the line be extended, converted to electric traction and changed to 1435 mm gauge. The Companhia de Bondes Electricos de Campo Grande a Guaratiba bought a dozen trolleys second-hand from the Jardim Botânico tramway company in Rio and inaugurated the fifth electric tram system in the Federal District on 17 May 1917: a 17 km line from the railroad station to Pedra de Guaratiba. An even longer line opened to Ilha on 23 March 1918 and a branch east to Rio da Prata in 1920. A 1948 survey reports 12 passenger motor cars, 14 passenger trailers, two freight cars, one funeral car and 46 km of standard gauge track. [There is a half-legible handwritten entry in the J. G. Brill order books, number 20468 of 28 November 1917, for four 14-bench trams with 39E trucks for the "Cia de B. E. Guarliba." Research has turned up no place or tram company in the world with the name "Guarliba." "B. E." probably means Bondes Elé(c)tricos, a term used only in Brazil, and the company that opened the 1917 line to Guaratiba was one of the few with those words in its name. Nevertheless, no such cars are known to have run on the Campo Grande systemãor, for that matter, anywhere in Brazil. If the order was for Campo Grande, it was probably canceled.]

The Campo Grande tramway system was unique. Population along the line was sparse, track was principally side-of-the-road, the routes were long and the ancient Bombay-roof cars trundled along at 10 kph. The trip to Ilha, 20 km, took two hours. Operation passed to the Prefeitura in 1937 and, upon formation of Guanabara state, to the Serviço de Transporte Rural in 1960. On 1 January 1964 the Companhia de Transportes Coletivos acquired the Campo Grande lines with the remaining tram routes in the capital: Light, Carioca, Corcovado and Ilha do Governador. CTC closed the Ilha route in October, the Pedra line in early 1965 and the last line, from Rio da Prata through town to the Monteiro barn, on Tuesday 31 October 1967. Except for the Santa Teresa and Corcovado railways and intermittent operation of the Alto da Boa Vista line, this was the last tramway in Rio de Janeiro state.



Santa Cruz

Just as Campo Grande was the terminus of several rural electric tram lines, the railroad station at Santa Cruz, 15 km further west and 55 km from Rio de Janeiro, was the starting point for two rural animal tramways.

An 11 km line opened in 1880 between the Santa Cruz railroad station and the town of Itaguaí, just outside the Federal District (then called the Município Neutro). Operator was the Empreza Carris de Ferro de Santa Cruz a Itaguahy, gauge was 820 mm - the same as the Carris Urbanos system in the capital and the animal lines in Campo Grande - and there were three passenger cars, two freight cars and 24 mules. Service continued until 1907, when construction began on the railroad extension along the same route from Santa Cruz to Itaguaí. The first steam locomotive reached Itaguaí on 14 November 1910.

The Ferro-Carril e Navegação Santa Cruz opened another tramway to Sepetiba, on the coast 9 km south, on 27 June 1884. It also had 820 mm gauge, and ran until 1911.




Niterói is a 20-minute boat ride from Rio and was the capital of Rio de Janeiro state until 1975. The city across the bay is often ignored by Cariocas, despite its pleasant setting, but this situation began to change in 1974 when the two cities were connected by a bridge. Before construction of the bridge most of the local transportation in Niterói focused on the ferry terminal, the "Barcas," rather than on the railroad station as in other cities. Its population was 50,000 in 1910, is about 300,000 today.

The Ferro Carril Nictherohyense inaugurated a 1050 mm gauge horsecar line from the Barcas to São Domingos on 9 October 1871, and to Icaraí on 1 November. Trams reached the Santana station of the Leopoldina Railway in 1875 and a new company, the Carris Urbanos de Nictheroy, was formed on 1 July 1883. A recent study has revealed that the latter company obtained permission on 2 July 1883 to operate a battery tram. The car was designed by a Brazilian named Carlos Basto and went forward and backward at 10 kph, even on grades of 6%, and seems to have been placed in revenue service on the outer end of the Fonseca tram line on 7 October 1883. Newspapers report many problems during the following months, but apparently the pioneer electric car continued to run along Alameda São Boaventura until at least February 1885. No photograph or other information could be found about this extraordinary operation, which was unique in the world.

Horsecar expansion continued and a line went as far north as the Maricá Railway station in Neves, 9 km from the ferry terminal, on 11 October 1885. 21 October 1892 saw the organization of the Companhia Cantareira e Viação Fluminense, which would operate both the trams in Niterói and the ferryboats on Guanabara Bay for the next 70 years.

The neighboring municipality of São Gonçalo had its own transportation system. On 5 August 1899 the Tramway Rural Fluminense opened a steam line from Neves (end of the Niterói horsecar line) to Alcântara, which provided local service along the streets paralleling the Leopoldina Railway. The steam trams were replaced by gasoline models on 15 February 1917.

In early 1906 the Companhia Cantareira signed a contract for construction of an electric tramway with Siemens-Schuckertwerke of Berlin, the German firm that had electrified the Vila Isabel system across the bay in Rio. Overhead wire and poles came from Germany and the new electric cars carried Siemens bow collectors, but all other components of the new Niterói tramway came from the United States: track was by Lorain Steel, the powerhouse had Westinghouse motors and generators, the forty 10-bench cars came from St. Louis and had Westinghouse motors and Brill trucks. [Description of the installation comes from a report in O Fluminense, a Niterói newspaper, the following day (see bibliography). No confirmation of the car and truck orders could be found in St. Louis and Brill records. The author believes that the large initial order of St. Louis cars for Niterói is the result of an order for 35 St. Louis cars placed by Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power on 2 February 1906. RJTL&P acquired only 25 St. Louis cars in 1909, which came from a 1908 order placed, then canceled, by Rio's Ferro-Carril Carioca. See chapter on Rio de Janeiro, above.] On 31 October 1906 Rodrigues Alves, President of the Republic, and Nilo Peçanha, Governor of Rio de Janeiro, attended the inauguration of Niterói's first electric tram route, from the Barcas to Icaraí. This was the same route where the city's first horsecar had run 35 years before. Niterói's last horsecar ran on 15 August 1908 and the vehicles were sold to animal tramways in Vitória (Espírito Santo state) and Aparecida (São Paulo state).

Two years later, on 25 August 1910, the CCVF opened an electric line to São Gonçalo via Avenida Dr. March. Steam trams, from the end of the electric line at Neves, and electric trams, via Avenida Dr. March, met in São Gonçalo; the steam trams continued another 7 km to Alcântara. CCVF acquired the Tramway Rural Fluminense on 25 April 1921 and electrified this outer portion of the line on 5 July 1924. Electrification of the inner portion of the line, from Neves to São Gonçalo, was completed on 25 July 1925 and thereafter trolley cars ran all the way from the Barcas in Niterói to Alcântara, a distance of 21 km. This was one of the longest urban tram routes in Brazil.

The CCVF was acquired in April 1912 by the Leopoldina Terminal Company, a subsidiary of the British-owned Leopoldina Railway. Electric Bond & Share, the American corporation, purchased the electric utilities in Niterói in 1927, but not the tram system. The CCVF began to rebuild open cars into closed models in 1944 and the IBGE report for 1945 shows 93 passenger motor cars, 71 passenger trailers and 28 freight cars on 97 km of track. Gauge was meter and the most scenic line ran on private right-of-way along the bay to São Francisco.

In 1953 CCVF inaugurated trolleybus operation with 45 Vetra vehicles from France: this was Brazil's third trolleybus system, preceded only by São Paulo and Belo Horizonte and predating Rio de Janeiro by eight years. In 1958 nine vehicles were transferred to a new trolleybus system in Campos and in 1961 Niterói's tram and trolleybus service was municipalized: the initials of the new company, Serviço de Viação de Niterói e São Gonçalo, formed the acronymn "SERVE." Tram 521 was the last to serve Niterói, on the São Gonçalo via Porto Velho line, on Friday night 31 July 1964. SERVE ran its last trolleybus on Friday 10 November 1967.

Niterói had a funicular railway from 1904 until 1916. The hydraulically-powered Santa Rosa Inclined Plane operated to a hilltop from a station near the intersection of Rua Santa Rosa and Rua 7 de Setembro, on the east side of town.




Brazil's first railroad, inaugurated in 1854, ran from the port of Mauá on Guanabara Bay north toward Petrópolis. Passengers took the ferry from Rio de Janeiro to Mauá, then continued by train. A similar railroad was planned in the 1870s to Teresópolis, beginning from the port of Piedade, 10 km east of Mauá. Because of setbacks encountered on the Petrópolis line, funds were not forthcoming and the government approved a provisory arrangement on 4 February 1873: the Ferro Carri1 de Theresopolis was allowed to operate horsecars over the first 4 km of the route, from the Piedade dock as far as the town of Magé. Tramway service continued until the Estrada de Ferro de Theresopolis inaugurated steam trains from Piedade to Guapimirim, 21 km, on 1 November 1896. The rack railway portion, from Guapimirim to Teresópolis, did not open until 18 September 1908.



Ribeirão das Lajes

In addition to its electric and animal-powered tram lines in the capital, Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power also operated a private gasoline-powered tramway 70 km north of the city, between the Nicanor Pereira station of the Central of Brazil RR (Paracambi branch) and its hydroelectric plant at Ribeirão das Lajes. The 21 km railway, built to the same 1600 mm gauge as the Central of Brazil, was used for construction of the hydroelectric plant. When the latter was completed in 1906, gasoline trams were placed on the line to transport workers and visitors to and from the city: these were possibly the only 1600 mm gauge trams in regular service in Brazil. Tracks were removed and an automobile road was constructed along part of the right-of-way in 1935. In addition to this "Lower Railway," Rio TL&P also operated a funicular railway on the mountain behind the power house and a 15 km meter-gauge "Upper Railway" on top of the mountain. The latter used steam locomotives.




At km 65, near Ribeirão das Lajes, the Central of Brazil's main line to São Paulo begins its spectacular climb of the Serra do Mar and at km 90, upon leaving the 13th tunnel, arrives in the town of Mendes (1980 population: 12,000) at altitude 450 m. [Mendes achieved municipal status on 1 January 1953. Until that time Mendes was a distrito in the município of Barra do Piraí.] This is the railroad's highest elevation in the state, and because of its proximity to the capital Mendes has become a sort of mini-resort and has three train stations, at km 90, 92 and 93. Tramway lines, separate and unconnected, ran from two of them. Both ran through city streets, but did not intersect.

From Humberto Antunes (formerly "Túnel Grande") station at km 90, the Companhia Itacolomy built a 3-km mulecar line in 1889 to its paper mill east of the city. About 1912 the factory was purchased by the Companhia Industrial de Papéis e Cartonagem ("CIPEC") and the tramway was electrified. There were three freight cars, of unknown origin, with trolley poles. Trucks appear to be Brill 21-E. Small gasoline trams transported workers and visitors. The line closed in 1952.

From Mendes (formerly "Néri Ferreira") station at km 92, another horsecar line opened about 1900 to take visitors to the Grande Hotel Santa Rita nestled in the woods 5 km northwest of the city. A guest wrote: "A tramcar meets every train . . . the cooking is good and the house clean and comfortable, but the same cannot be said of the tram, which seems to run on square wheels" [Brazilian Review (Rio de Janeiro), 1907/12/10, 1410]. The hotel and tramway lasted until 1932. Though overgrown with brush, remnants of both are still visible today at the edge of town.



Barra do Piraí

An 1888 government report describes three franchises for a tramway in this industrial city at the junction of mainline railroads between Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo. And the Album do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, issued during Brazil's centenary celebration in 1922, includes two photographs that show track and overhead wire on its streets. But a visit by the author to Barra do Piraí failed to produce any information about the existence of a passenger tramway.




The Central of Brazil's 1600 mm gauge main line from Rio de Janeiro to Belo Horizonte reached Barãode Vassouras, 128 km north of the capital, in 1865, and in 1874 a concession was granted to the Ferro Carril Vassourense to build a mule tramway from the station to the town of Vassouras, 7 km southeast. The line opened on 11 July 1883 with seven passenger cars and 14 mules. A meter-gauge branch of the Central of Brazil duplicated the tram route in 1895, but the mulecars continued to run until 1914.




Nova Friburgo

Brazil's first mountain railway, the Estrada de Ferro Cantagallo, was inaugurated on 18 December 1873 between Niterói and Nova Friburgo, a village at altitude 840 meters 130 km northeast of the capital. Gauge was 1100 mm and the mountain section used the Fell center-rail system: materials were second-hand from the Mont Cenis Railway in France. Nova Friburgo had been settled in 1820 by Roman Catholic exiles from Fribourg, Switzerland. The EF Cantagallo became part of the Leopoldina Railway in 1911.

For a half century, between 1883 and 1933, a mule tramway ran from the railroad station southwest to Parque São Clemente and Conego. During its last years the line was operated by the Sanatório Naval, a military hospital for tuberculosis victims.



Manuel Duarte

In addition to tramways at Ribeirão das Lajes, Mendes, Vassouras and Nova Friburgo, several other railway oddities existed in the mountains north of the capital, including a 33 km interstate interurban horsecar line.

From Barão de Juparanã (formerly Desengano) station of the EF Central do Brasil, 3 km north of Barão de Vassouras, the EF União Valenciana inaugurated a 1067 mm gauge steam railroad to Valença on 18 May 1871. The Guinness Book of Rail Facts [Third edition (London, 1979), p. 26] describes this 25 km route as the first narrow-gauge public railway in the Western Hemisphere. The 1600 mm gauge EFCB reached Paraibuna, its first station in Minas Gerais, in 1874 and in 1882 a third company, the EF Rio das Flores, inaugurated the first segment of a 1000 mm gauge steam line from Valença toward Paraibuna. Progress was slow, and the EFRF did not reach Paraibuna until 1911. To close the gap between Porto das Flores and Paraibuna and serve the communities along the south shore of the Black River (Rio Preto), the Ferro-Carril Paraibuna e Porto das Flores, chartered in 1882, opened a mule tramway from Paraibuna across a bridge into Rio de Janeiro state in 1883. An 1886 report shows four mule-drawn passenger cars and six freight vehicles running 26 km to Santa Rosa. Presumably the line reached Porto das Flores, 7 km west, soon after. And presumably the tramway quit soon after the steam railroad reached the same points in 1911. The part of Porto das Flores in Rio de Janeiro state, i.e., south of the Black River, was renamed Manuel Duarte in 1940.




Petrópolis is the Brazilian Sintra. The city grew up around the summer residence of Emperor Pedro II, perched on top of a mountain 65 km north of Rio de Janeiro. Altitude is 840 m and to reach Petrópolis the Baron of Mauá built the first railroad in Brazil. Steam trains began operating from the dock at Mauá, on the far end of Guanabara Bay, to Fragoso on 30 April 1854; stages continued on the mountain section beyond Fragoso until the rack railway was completed in 1883. The first settlers in the area were German and neighborhoods in Petrópolis bear names like Darmstadt, Ingelheim, Westfália and Bingen. The city had a population of 25,000 in 1900, has 120,000 inhabitants today.

Petrópolis never had horsecars on rails. But it bought a dozen horsecars second-hand from the Carris Urbanos company in Rio in 1885 and ran them on wooden wheels. This service continued until about 1900.

Rainfall in the area is heavy and many of the principal thoroughfares of the city, including the main street, straddle mountain streams. The Companhia Brasileira de Energia Electrica hired Eduardo Guinle to construct an electric tramway in 1911 and ordered 12 single-truck closed cars from J. G. Brill (o.n. 18246 and 18419). A portion of the Cascatinha route was inaugurated on 13 December 1912 and the remainder of the tramway opened to the public in 1913. Track was meter-gauge and single, on one side of the canals only; on the long, picturesque Cascatinha route the rails were laid between the pavement and the river. Tram traffic, even on the belt lines, went both ways on this single track, creating problems with automobiles. Two Birney cars were acquired from Brill in 1920 (o.n. 21145), two more in 1922 (21470). Electric Bond & Share, the giant U.S. corporation, took over utilities in 1927 and the last trolley in Petrópolis ran on 15 July 1939. The cars were sold to the tramway system in Campos, where they operated until 1964.

Construction of a trolleybus system in Petrópolis was begun in 1952. But the project was abandoned and the vehicles, which had been built in France by Vetra, were diverted to a new trolleybus system in Niterói. The rack railway up the mountain closed on 5 November 1964.




Campos, state of Rio de Janeiro - not to be confused with Campos do Jordão, state of São Paulo - straddles the Paraíba do Sul River about 30 km from the ocean, 275 km northeast of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It is a center of the sugar industry and had a population of 30,000 in 1910; it has about 200,000 residents today. The city is distinguished for being the first in Brazil - even before Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo - to install electric street lighting, on 24 June 1883. But it was the 32nd city in Brazil - one of the last - to install electric trams.

On 19 September 1875 the Ferro-Carril de Campos inaugurated a mule tramway that provided the city's only rail transportation for 41 years. Proposals began in 1891 to build a line across the river in Guarulhos, but nothing materialized. The Companhia Brasileira de Tramways, Luz e Força was organized on 13 August 1914 and, after numerous delays, tested the first electric streetcar in Campos on 28 September 1916. Revenue service began on 14 October and the electric trolley system was formally inaugurated on 5 November 1916 in the presence of the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Nilo Peçanha, and the President of Brazil, Wenceslao Braz. Gauge was meter, electric equipment was by General Electric and Brill records show orders for ten 21E trucks (19806 and 20136). But builder of the 8-bench car bodies is unknown: they seem to be of the design developed during this period by Trajano de Medeiros in Rio de Janeiro. The initials "CBTLF" appeared on their sides.

In 1918 the system closed because of electrical problems and some of the cars were rebuilt to run on gasoline. Electric operation returned and ownership passed to the Prefeitura Municipal in 1923, to the Serviços de Força, Luz e Viação in 1928, to the Serviços Industriais do Estado in 1934, and, finally, to the Serviços Industriais do Norte do Estado ("SINE") in 1942. In 1940 the Campos tramway acquired ten closed cars second-hand from the abandoned tram system in Petrópolis and after World War II open cars came second-hand from Niterói. The IBGE report for 1948 shows 16 passenger motor cars, 8 passenger trailers, one freight vehicle and 20 km of route.

In 1958 SINE purchased nine French Vetra trolleybuses second-hand from Niterói and replaced streetcars on the belt line to the railroad station. Diesel buses took over other routes in succeeding years and the last streetcar in Campos, number 14, ran to the cemetery at Caju on 15 November 1964. The trolleybus service quit on 12 June 1967 and the vehicles were sold to the Volta Redonda steel mills for scrap.

Tram 14, an 8-bench arch-roof model, was displayed at the Oswaldo Lima civic center in October 1977. In 1987 several prominent city leaders formed the "Comissão Bonde 14" to restore the car and preserve it in a museum.




This small port city (1980 population: 40,000), 200 km east of Rio de Janeiro, was the third in the state to have a tramway and had the longest-running animal tramway in Brazil. The Ferro-Carril de Macahé inaugurated a short service on 29 June 1872. A new company, the Ferro-Carril de Macahé e Imbetiba, extended the line to the port at Imbetiba in 1877, and in 1882 there were 20 mules pulling five trams on 6 km of meter-gauge track. The city took over on 10 February 1907. The Ferro-Carril Municipal de Macahé e Imbetiba closed the mule line, after 60 years of operation, in 1932.