Sergipe is the smallest state in Brazil and is also (except for Acre, which became a state only in 1971) the least populous. About the size of Massachusetts, Sergipe has less than a million residents today and most of them live in its capital, Aracaju. Population of Aracaju in 1925 was 38,000, was 250,000 in 1980. The Sergipe, a small sailing ship from Aracaju, represented Brazil at the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in New York Harbor in 1976.
Aracaju was the last capital city in Brazil to build an animal tramway and also the last capital city to build an electric tramway. It had the only tram system in Sergipe state.
The Empresa Carris Urbanos inaugurated a mule tramway on 24 October 1908. Fifteen years later, 55 animals were pulling 17 trams on 13 km of 800 mm gauge track. The Empresa Tracção Electrica was organized with local capital in 1923 and a contract for electrification was signed in 1924 with João Andrade de Almeida & Companhia of Salvador, an agent for Siemens-Schuckertwerke of Berlin. Builder of the first ten 8-bench electric trams is unknown. A 1924 article in the trade publication Brazil-Ferro-Carril says that equipment came from "Motores Deutz," which suggests that they were built by Van der Zypen & Charlier in Köln. But a 1925 news item in the same journal says that the cars arrived aboard the steamer Bremerhaven from the United States. (Perhaps the German ship refueled in the United States.) The first tests took place in March 1926, revenue service began on 2 June and Aracaju's electric tramway was formally inaugurated on 13 August 1926 in the presence of Washington Luiz Pereira de Souza, the newly elected President of Brazil. Motor cars carried Siemens bow collectors and there were 21 km of meter-gauge track. Only one other electric tramway in Brazil opened later: Bom Sucesso, in 1930.
The Aracaju tramway seems to have operated with the same ten passenger cars and three trailers (one a funeral car) throughout its existence. Ownership passed to the state-run Serviços de Luz e Força in 1936 and the system closed in 1955, after 29 years of service.
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