São Paulo / São Bernardo do Campo / Santos / São Vicente / Guarujá / Itatinga



São Paulo

São Paulo state, about the size (and shape) of West Germany, ranks tenth in Brazil in area. Three-and-a-half million residents in 1900 ranked it second in population after Minas Gerais; 18 million inhabitants in 1980 place it first - population today almost equals that of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states combined. São Paulo is the new industrial center of Brazil. If it were a separate country it would be the richest in South America after Brazil. São Paulo state is also rich in tramway heritage: Minas Gerais surpassed it in total number of lines, since it was more populous in horsecar days, but São Paulo state was first in Brazil in number of electric tramway systems.

Half of the state's residents live in the capital, which since World War II has become the most populous city in South America. The United Nations predicts that in the year 2000 São Paulo will have 26 million residents and be the third-largest city on earth, after Mexico City and Tokyo. It sprawls on an escarpment at 800 m altitude, 60 km from the port of Santos, with which it is connected by spectacular highways and railroads. The Estrada Velha, constructed in 1844, was the first paved road in Latin America and has 118 curves. The São Paulo Railway, built by the British in 1867, pulls trains up the mountain by cable: 3/4 of the world's coffee has passed down this "plano inclinado." A new automobile road, the Via Anchieta, was opened in 1947, and the magnificent Via dos Imigrantes was inaugurated in 1976.

Santos and São Paulo are quite different in character. Santos, like Rio de Janeiro, has a harbor and beaches and colorful mountain backdrop. São Paulo, 20 times its size, is nearly flat and lacks even a riverfront. Amidst a sea of skyscrapers the major distinguishing feature of the central business district is a 16-lane recessed highway, the Avenida Anhangabaú, which cuts it in two.

The first mulecar line in the city, between Luz railroad station and the Largo do Carmo, was inaugurated by the Companhia Carris de Ferro on 12 October 1872. This was the second tramway in the state - Santos started in 1871, cars were built by John Stephenson in New York and gauge was 1050 mm. Lines soon spread in all directions and by 1877 CCF had 32 passenger cars and 50 freight vehicles running on 25 km of track. Another railway, the Companhia Carris de Ferro de São Paulo a Santo Amaro, inaugurated a mulecar line to Vila Mariana, south of downtown, on 25 January 1885. This line was converted to steam traction and extended to the village of Santo Amaro, 19 km distant, on 14 March 1886. Gauge was, again, 1050 mm; the two tiny locomotives came from Krauss in München. (This winding railway to Santo Amaro should not be confused with the more direct electric line built in 1913.) Proposals for electrification of the city's tramlines started in 1888 and the CCF reorganized as the Companhia Viação Paulista in 1889. A new company, the Empresa de Bondes de Sant'Ana, opened a route to the northern suburbs on 7 August 1890 and a fourth firm, the Companhia Ferro Carril, started opening lines on the south side of town on 3 August 1891. On 19 June 1892 the Companhia Viação Paulista, which eventually absorbed the smaller companies, opened a tramway to Ipiranga with a novelty: after Cambuci the mules were unhitched and the trams were pulled by Baldwin locomotives.

At the turn of the century 170 passenger trams and 75 freight trams were being pulled by four steam locomotives and approximately 1,700 mules on the streets of São Paulo. The Ipiranga steam line and most of the animal lines closed in 1903, but the decrepit Sant'Ana operation, which provoked attacks and bombings by passengers, continued until 1907. The Santo Amaro steam tramway lasted until 1914.

(The so-called "Tramway da Cantareira" was not a street railway but a 600 mm gauge steam railroad that used open passenger coaches. Lines ran to a reservoir at Cantareira, 13 km north of the city, and to the town of Guarulhos, 20 km northeast. The Sorocabana RR acquired the system in 1942, regauged the Guarulhos line to meter and planned electrification. But the steam locomotives remained and the Cantareira route closed in 1957, the Guarulhos line on 31 May 1965.)

The electric tramway system in São Paulo - and later all public utilities in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Santos - was a Canadian enterprise. But the project started in Brazil. Antonio Augusto de Souza, director of the Companhia Viação Paulista, and Francisco Antonio Gualco, an Italian naval officer living in Montreal, acquired a franchise to build an electric tramway in São Paulo on 8 July 1897. They lacked funds and were slow to organize. Alexander Mackenzie, a Toronto lawyer, and Frederick Pearson, an engineer with the Metropolitan Street Railway in New York, formed the São Paulo Railway, Light & Power Company in Toronto on 7 April 1899. (The third word was later changed to "Tramway" to avoid confusion with the São Paulo Railway.) They ordered fifteen 9-bench electric cars from J. G. Brill of Philadelphia on 6 June 1899 (o.n. 9393) - the first Brill trolleys built for Brazil - and set sail for South America.

When Mackenzie and Pearson began laying rails in the streets of São Paulo on 5 July 1899, a bitter dispute arose with the Companhia Viação Paulista. Souza and Gualco finally sold their electrification rights to the Canadians, but legal battles and street fights continued until SPTL&P bought the mulecar company on 17 July 1901. Mackenzie and Pearson fought another battle in 1909 with the Companhia Docas de Santos, which wanted to supply electricity to São Paulo. [The Guinle family of Santos failed in this endeavor, and also in later struggles against North Americans in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. See chapters on these cities. Also see discussion of the Guinles in General History, Part 4.]

The first six Brill cars arrived in December and the first electric streetcar line in São Paulo, between Largo São Bento and Barra Funda, was inaugurated on 7 May 1900. Gauge was 1435 mm and a Brazilian flag - not a Canadian one, to be sure - hung from the trolley pole. São Paulo became the fourth city in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Manaus, to have electric traction. To power the tramway, the Canadians built a dam and hydroelectric plant on the Tietê River at Parnaíba, 35 km northwest of the city.

On 13 May 1900, only six days later, another electric line was opened to Bom Retiro. And two weeks after that, on 27 May, another line to Higienópolis. Electric service came to Avenida Paulista on 17 June (after another confrontation with the CVP, which didn't want SPTL&P to cross its tracks) and a fifth electric line, to Brás, opened on 31 December. At the end of 1900 there were 25 electric cars (numbered 1-49, odd only) running on 24 km of rail. By the end of 1902 there were 85 motor cars and 32 trailers (CVP mulecars regauged) operating on 85 km of track. SPTL&P bought ten more cars from Brill in 1900 (o.n. 10078), 50 new trams from St. Louis in 1902 (o.n. 129, fleet numbers 51-149) and in 1903 acquired twenty 9-bench trolleys from Trajano de Medeiros in Rio de Janeiro (fleet numbers 151-189). James Mitchell, who had built the first electric tramways in Rio de Janeiro in the 1890s, became General Manager of São Paulo Tramway, Light & Power Company in 1901. [Mitchell secured a contract to electrify the Santos tramway in 1901. Twenty cars were ordered from Trajano de Medeiros, but the project was abandoned in 1903. The Trajano de Medeiros trams which went to São Paulo that year are believed to have been those originally ordered for Santos.]

The Canadians operated and expanded the tramway system in São Paulo for the next half century. New lines opened monthly and new cars entered service so rapidly that passengers complained of fresh paint on their clothes. Route numbers were introduced in 1909 and a 200 reis fare was established - high at the time - that remained unchanged until 1947! By 1912 there were four tram depots. On 7 July 1913 four double-truck closed cars, built by Brill in 1912 (o.n. 18382-4), inaugurated a new straight-as-an-arrow electric line to Santo Amaro. The old steam route was discontinued; its roadbed is buried today beneath Congonhas Airport. In 1921 the Santo Amaro electric line was extended across the Pinheiros River to Largo do Socorro and in 1927 a new suburban route was built to a real estate development called Cidade Jardim. Direto service - cars that made limited stops - was introduced in 1930. In 1936, when route numbers reached 103, there were 523 passenger motor cars, 54 passenger trailers and 87 freight trams operating on 301 km of track. São Paulo had the second-largest tramway system in Brazil.

The "Light" - as SPTL&P was called by Brazilians - began to build its own cars in 1904. This was only four years after tram service was inaugurated: one car in 1904, ten in 1907, 25 in 1908, 30 in 1909, etc. In 1909 it built its first closed tram - a reduced-fare carro para operários - and its first double-truck car in 1916. In 1920 it began to enclose platforms of open cars and in 1921 started removing clerestories. Equipment continued to arrive from abroad: order number 591 dated 23 August 1905 in the St. Louis catalog shows an elaborate double-truck parlor car with arch windows. Painted blue and named "Ypiranga," the car was blessed by Cardinal Arcoverde in 1906; it was numbered 2003 and placed in service on the Santo Amaro line in 1921. Fifty more 9-bench cars came from Brill in 1913 (o.n. 18851) and 100 closed bodies were built by Canadian Car & Foundry (o.n. 659 and 689) in 1926-27. These were the famous camarões (singular, camarão), named for their shrimp-like color. Passenger motor cars had odd numbers in São Paulo and the 100 pink trams were numbered 1501-1699. Additions in later years included 75 center-door cars, called centex in São Paulo, acquired second-hand in 1947 from the Third Avenue Transit System in New York. Third Avenue Railway had built them for conduit operation in 1938; trolley poles were added in São Paulo, doors were removed on one side and they were numbered 1701-1849. These "Huffliners" ran twice as long in São Paulo as in New York. In 1947 the São Paulo tramway system had 689 trams: 252 single-truck open motors, 28 single-truck open trailers, 153 double-truck open motors, four double-truck open trailers, 101 camarões, 75 centex, 12 carros para operários and 64 pieces of work equipment. Fleet numbers reached 2115.

SPTL&P announced that it wanted to get out of the tram business when its contract expired in 1941. But President Getúlio Vargas forced it to remain during World War II. Ridership was increasing but equipment was deteriorating and parts were no longer available from abroad. Downtown congestion had become intolerable despite a program begun in 1937: tram termini were moved to eight loops at the edge of the central business district. The Companhia Municipal de Transportes Coletivos, formed on 14 August 1946, took over all tram and bus operations in the city on 1 July 1947. On 1 August 1947 CMTC raised the 200 reis fare - in effect for 38 years! - to 500 reis. Passengers rioted in the streets, burned trams and buses and attempted to bomb city hall.

A strong bus industry was developing in Brazil and CMTC inaugurated its first trolleybus line on 22 April 1949. São Paulo, like other cities, had spread beyond the grid of its tram system. The first main artery to lose its streetcars was Rua Augusta, used by the Jardim Europa line, on 24 January 1952. In 1953 CMTC rerouted several northside lines around the downtown area and in 1955 began rebuilding open trams into closed vehicles resembling camarões. Trams in the Moóca district were replaced by diesel buses in 1958 and the important Santana line, on the north side, was converted to trolleybus operation in 1959. In 1960 CMTC announced that it would rid the city completely of trams by 1968. The Santa Amaro route, which ran mostly on private right-of-way, would be converted to rapid transit.

Several short routes were abandoned in the early 1960s: Barra Funda, Vila Prudente, Brésser, Bosque, Jardim Paulista. After 1963 open trams ran only on the Belém line - it had no turning loop, so required double-end cars. July and August 1966 saw the abandonment of most of the major tram routes in the city: Lapa, Penha, Belém, Pinheiros, Perdizes, Angélica, São Judas Tadeu. In January 1967 the end came to the others: Ipiranga, Fábrica, Casa Verde and Alto da Vila Maria. Only the Santo Amaro line remained. Its inner terminus was cut back to Vila Mariana and henceforth São Paulo, like Rio de Janeiro, had only one standard-gauge trolley line running in an obscure area at the edge of town. On 27 March 1968, with thousands of weeping paulistas lining the route, a cortège of 12 camarões made a final roundtrip to Santo Amaro and ended 96 years of tram service in the city.

The Santo Amaro right-of-way was turned into a 4-lane highway, without rapid transit, and the 14th trolleybus line was inaugurated in 1969. The Companhia do Metropolitano de São Paulo inaugurated a 17 km third-rail rapid transit line, 1600 mm gauge, between Santana and Jabaquara in 1975. In 1978 the CMTC announced plans for a 500 km trolleybus network and in 1984 the metrô company announced that it would build a separate trolleybus system. On 20 March 1985 CMTC dedicated its Museum of Public Transport, near Armênia (formerly Ponte Pequena) subway station, which displays several antique vehicles including Brill open tram 1 of 1899. Centex and camarões, in various states of disrepair, can be found in parks and playgrounds all over São Paulo state. Single-truck open car 471, built by SPTL&P in 1913, is preserved at Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.

In addition to its expanding rapid transit system, São Paulo has an extensive service of electric suburban railroads. Trains run from Luz station to Paranapiacaba (at the top of the "inclined plane"), Mogi das Cruzes and Jundiaí; and from Júlio Prestes station to Carapicuiba and Pinheiros.



São Bernardo do Campo

São Bernardo do Campo is a town on the Estrada Velha automobile road, about 20 km south of São Paulo. The Empresa Imobiliária de São Bernardo was formed on 1 October 1921 to develop real estate in the area and build a tramway connection to the São Paulo Railway 8 km east. The railroad station was also called São Bernardo, since there was no settlement there at the time, but that area was named Santo André in 1935.

On 3 May 1923 two meter-gauge tram routes opened: the "Circular" line from Sao Bernardo do Campo to the railroad station, and the "São Caetano" route which headed toward the town of this name 10 km north. São Caetano is only 2 km from the end of the Heliópolis trolley line in São Paulo. Equipment consisted of small 4-wheel gasoline cars built by Ford of Brazil and Campagne of France; there may also have been vehicles from Renault. The depot was next to the railroad station.

The line lasted until 5 October 1930. It apparently accomplished its task for Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo and São Caetano - which are called the "ABC" suburbs of São Paulo - are major industrial regions today.




Santos, 60 km south of São Paulo, is one of the oldest cities in South America (1534) and the busiest port in Brazil. Half of the country's exports, including much of the world's coffee, pass through this town, which occupies the eastern half of São Vicente Island, in a marshy area between the mountains and the sea. The port area on the north side of the island and the beach communities on the south were connected by a streetcar system for almost 100 years. There was also a tram line to Guarujá across the bay; a funicular in Santos and an industrial tramway near Bertioga still run today. The city's population was 70,000 in 1910 and 450,000 in 1980.

Two separate horsecar systems developed in the 19th century. The Companhia Melhoramentos da Cidade de Santos opened an 800 mm gauge tramway from the railroad station to the beach on 8 October 1871; this was a year before the first streetcar ran in São Paulo. The town of São Vicente, on the western side of the island, inaugurated a 1350 mm gauge interurban tramway to Santos (via Matadouro) on 24 October 1875. The Carris de Ferro da Villa de São Vicente converted this 9 km line to steam traction in 1885; its peculiar 1350 mm (45 1/3 in) gauge would be adopted by the Santos electric tramway system 25 years later. In 1897 the tramways of both Santos and São Vicente - 83 passenger trams, 78 freight trams, 6 baggage cars, 6 Swiss locomotives and 573 mules - were acquired by the Companhia Viação Paulista, which also operated tramways in the city of São Paulo.

A local company, the Empresa Ferro-Carril Santista, took over in 1901 and hired James Mitchell of Rio de Janeiro for electrification. [James Mitchell built South America's first electric tramways in Rio de Janeiro in the 1890s and held the General Electric franchise for Brazil. He also became General Manager of São Paulo Tramway, Light & Power Company in 1901.] Mitchell ordered General Electric generators, Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Ide steam engines, Peckham trucks and other materials from New York, and twenty 9-bench electric trams from Trajano de Medeiros in Rio de Janeiro. There were financial problems and the project was abandoned. The cars and trucks were transferred to São Paulo's new electric tramway in 1903 (see chapter on that city). The other equipment was sold to the City of Santos Improvements Company, the English firm which provided the city's gas, water and electricity and which purchased the tramway franchise on 20 February 1904. CSIC began construction of a new tramway system in 1907 and ordered eighteen 9-bench electric cars from Hurst Nelson Company in Motherwell, Scotland, on 3 June 1908. The 1350 mm gauge of the São Vicente tramway was adopted and electric operation, from downtown Santos to São Vicente via José Menino, was inaugurated on 28 April 1909. The second line, to São Vicente via Matadouro, the former steam route, was inaugurated a month later. The last mulecar ran on 3 May 1912.

The City of Santos Improvements Company operated the electric tramway system in Santos for nearly a half century. Hurst Nelson supplied equipment until 1951 - Santos was its only Latin American customer: 48 passenger cars, 20 freight vehicles, 4 baggage wagons, a post office car, 2 water cars and thousands of parts. CSIC also acquired a passenger tram from St. Louis Car Company in 1908 (o.n. 806), two 9-bench cars from United Electric in 1915, and three 12-bench trams from Ateliers Métallurgiques of Belgium in 1928. In 1915 car numbers were doubled (all passenger trams thereafter had even numbers) and in 1919 the company began to build its own cars, including double-truck models. There was a brisk freight business and in 1917 it was claimed that residents of Santos enjoyed the highest tram-to-passenger ratio of any city in South America.

In 1925 bondes rápidos, making limited stops, were introduced on the beach lines. Women passengers complained, however, that males hopped on while the cars were moving and took the seats. Bondes expressos were introduced on two routes in 1926: they stopped for ladies, didn't allow men on the running boards and refused persons carrying packages. Bow collectors replaced trolley poles on all cars in 1933 and in 1935 the CSIC built two enormous 6-axle articulated trams, numbers 300 and 302: each had 18 benches and sat 90 passengers.

In 1929, 75% of the stock of the CSIC was acquired by Brazilian Traction, Light & Power Company, the Canadian enterprise that also controlled tramways in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Sorocaba. CSIC built its last tram in 1942 and the IBGE report for 1945 shows 139 passenger motor cars, 80 passenger trailers and 53 freight cars on 86 km of track. On 1 January 1952 the Canadians relinquished operation to the Serviço Municipal de Transportes Coletivos. SMTC began to rebuild open cars as closed vehicles in 1954; it was calculated that the fares saved in two months would pay for reconstruction. A trolleybus system began operation on 12 August 1963 and there were still some open trams in service when the last streetcar ran in Santos on 28 February 1971 - 99 years and four months after tram service in the city had begun. It was the last closure of a major tram system in Brazil.

Single-truck cars 40 and 46 were preserved at Vila Matias depot and an unnumbered double-truck Santos tram was put on display on the Rua das Flores pedestrian mall in Curitiba, state of Paraná. On 15 March 1975 the name of the trolleybus operator was changed to Companhia Santista de Transportes Coletivos.

Strangely, the Santos tramway story does not end there. In 1984 Mayor Paulo Gomes Barbosa dug up 900 m of double track on Avenida Bartolomeu de Gusmão along Embaré Beach, restrung wire and, on 10 June of that year, placed restored car 46 back into service. CSTC, the trolleybus company, ran Brazil's second tourist tramway (after Campinas) for two years. Unfortunately the line was far removed from Vila Matias depot, maintenance became a problem, and the service ended in October 1986.

There were two funicular railways in Santos. The Plano Inclinado de Nova Cintra, hydraulically powered, was inaugurated on 26 December 1897 on a hill near the Vila Matias carbarn. It crashed to the ground on 29 May 1922, killing three passengers, and never reopened. The Elevador de Monte Serrat, a more conventional funicular, was inaugurated on the other side of the same hill, opposite downtown, on 5 September 1926. It was damaged by landslides and condemned in 1928. But it reopened on 3 September 1933 and still runs today.



São Vicente

The town of São Vicente, on the western side of São Vicente Island, is the oldest settlement in Brazil, established in 1532. It had two tram companies, one of which has already been mentioned in the chapter on Santos.

The Carris de Ferro da Villa de São Vicente inaugurated a 9 km, 1350 mm gauge mule tramway between São Vicente and Santos - via the stockyards on the west side of the mountain - on 24 October 1875. The builder of the double-deck car shown in the photo is unknown, but it is the type that was made in this period by George Starbuck in Birkenhead, England. Motive power was changed to steam in 1886 and the line was acquired by the Companhia Viação Paulista, which operated the Santos local tramway, in 1897. Another company, the Ferro-Carril Vicentina, inaugurated a mule line from São Vicente eastward to José Menino (Santos) on 19 September 1905. The São Vicente tramways were acquired by the City of Santos Improvements Company and electrified as the first routes of the new Santos electric system in 1909. CSIC adopted the peculiar 1350 mm gauge of the Matadouro steam line.




Guarujá is a crescent-shaped beach resort on Santo Amaro Island, across the estuary east of Santos. There is no bridge between the two islands, even today, and developers built a 9 km steam railroad from Itapema, opposite downtown Santos, to the Grande Hotel in Guarujá in 1893. (Itapema is called Vicente de Carvalho today.) The Companhia Balneária, which also operated the ferryboat to connect with the railway, became the Companhia Balneária da Ilha de Santo Amaro in 1896 and the Companhia Guarujá in 1901. An alternate ferry service for automobiles was opened in 1918 from a point near Ponta da Praia.

The meter-gauge railroad was electrified on 11 January 1925: new rolling stock consisted of a 104 HP steeplecab locomotive and two 106 HP tramcars built by M.A.N. of Nürnberg, Germany. The Serviços Públicos do Guarujá took over in 1927, ordered another tram from M.A.N. and built a 3 km freight branch to Cachoeira. On 21 December 1935 the passenger station in Guarujá was moved two blocks back from the sea: trams thereafter terminated at the former freight depot, instead of at the Grande Hotel. The line closed on 13 July 1956 and the equipment was sold to the Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordão.

Guarujá trams 5 and 7, built in 1924, and number 9, built in 1930, are still running today as Campos do Jordão trams A-5, A-7 and A-6, respectively.




The Itatinga hydroelectric plant is located in a cove at the base of the Serra do Mar, 8 km north of Bertioga, a beach town on the Atlantic Ocean 35 km east of Santos. Electricity from the Itatinga Dam, 900 m above, powers the railroads, derricks and docks of the port. The spot is extremely remote: mountains rise sharply on three sides and marshes along the Itatinga River block the other. To build the plant in 1906, the Companhia Docas de Santos built an 800 mm gauge railroad and a dock on the Itapanhaú River across from Bertioga. Three Krauss steam locomotives, construction materials and workers were brought by barge from Santos. When the plant was completed, the railroad continued to be used to bring supplies and employees from town. A few houses, a grocery store, church and cinema sprung up around the plant, but there were no roads or automobiles.

And there are still none today in this railway Shangri-la. CDS built two trolley cars and electrified the line in January 1958: B-l (Bonde 1) has six benches and a controller at each end, and B-2 has a cablecar layout with the motorman in the middle. Both have eight wheels and may be the shortest double-truck open trams in the world. Bow collectors are identical to those used by the tramway in Santos and the three passenger trailers, numbered 1, 3 and 4, look like old Santos horsecars, which also had 800 mm gauge. In 1980 the Companhia Docas de Santos became the Companhia Docas do Estado de São Paulo ("CODESP"). In 1989 the Itatinga trolley is still the only connection between the village of Itatinga and the outside world.