Lorena / Guaratinguetá / Campos do Jordão / Taubaté / Jundiaí / Sorocaba / Votorantim / Campinas / Piracicaba / São Carlos / Piraju / Monte Alto / Franca




Lorena is a small town (1980 population: 50,000) in the eastern part of the state, about 15 km east of Guaratinguetá. The Engenho Central, the local sugar mill, built a mule tramway through the streets of the city for the visit of Emperor Dom Pedro II on 18 October 1886. The tracks were later used to bring supplies for construction of the town's cathedral. The tramway closed when the sugar mill went bankrupt in 1896.




Aparecida and Guaratinguetá are two small towns on the mainline railroad - or on the Via Dutra superhighway - about halfway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. [Aparecida was originally a distrito in the municipality of Guaratinguetá (whence the name of the electric tramway company, which was actually headquartered in Aparecida). The separate municipality of Aparecida was formed in 1928.] Our Lady of Aparecida do Norte is Brazil's patron saint and the cathedral on top of the hill in Aparecida is the chief place of pilgrimage for Catholics in Brazil. A large new cathedral nearby was dedicated by Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1980.

To reach the hilltop shrine a tramway was built between the Aparecida railroad station and the church in 1895. Equipment was brought second-hand from Niterói and two, sometimes three, mules were required to pull a car up the steep grade on Rua Oliveira Braga. In the county seat of Guaratinguetá, 7 km northeast, the Ferro-Carril de Guaratinguetá inaugurated another mule tramway on Christmas Day 1898. This line began at Praça Rodrigues Alves in Guaratinguetá and ran north across the Paraíba do Sul River to Pedregulho.

In 1911 the Companhia Luz e Força de Guaratinguetá began construction of an electric tramway between "Apare" and "Guara," as they are known locally. The new meter-gauge tracks duplicated the mule line in Aparecida and ran on private right-of-way across open country 100 m north of the automobile road. Five open passenger cars and a work car were ordered from J. G. Brill (o.n. 18156, 18158, 18622 and 18624) and trolley service was inaugurated between the railroad station in Aparecida and the shrine on 8 December 1913. The entire route, from the Aparecida church to the railroad station in Guaratinguetá, opened three months later, on 7 March 1914. The mule line from Guaratingueá to Pedregulho, which was not electrified, closed about 1920.

Ownership of the electric tramway passed to the Companhia Light e Power de São Paulo in 1927 and additional equipment was acquired from Trajano de Medeiros in Rio de Janeiro. When the line was closed by a flood in 1939, the old zigzag route up the hill in Guaratinguetá was eliminated and new tracks were laid directly up Rua Dr. Martiniano. The IBGE report for 1945 lists nine passenger cars and one freight vehicle.

A local bus operator, Jacobelli & Companhia, acquired the line in March 1951, and the tramway closed about 1957. The abandoned depot, on the private right-of-way section in Aparecida, which has since been converted into Avenida Zézé Valadão, can still be seen today from the Via Dutra highway.



Campos do Jordão

Campos do Jordão ("Fields of Jordão" - Jordão was a landowner) is a summer resort in the Mantiqueira mountains 170 km northeast of São Paulo. Altitude is 1,700 m; surrounding peaks reach 2,000 m, the highest in the state. The climate is cool, the architecture is Alpine and recently the region has become a year-round artist's colony and center for music festivals. Population was 8,000 in 1910 and is 25,000 today. Campos do Jordão has one of the five tramway systems still operating in Brazil.

Health spas developed in the 19th century and on 28 October 1911 a franchise was awarded to Emilio Ribas and Victor Godinho to build a railway from Campos do Jordão down the mountain to the Central of Brazil Railroad station at Pindamonhangaba. Construction began in 1912 and the 47 km meter-gauge line opened on 15 November 1914. Freight cars were pulled by steam locomotives. Passengers were carried on gasoline-powered railcars: small 2-axle units on the level sections at the top and bottom of the hill; a large 4-axle vehicle fashioned from a Bugatti truck on the 10.5% grade in between. At Alto do Lageado the line attained an elevation of 1,743 m, the highest of any railway in Brazil.

The Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordão lost business during World War I, was expropriated by the state and closed. However, in 1922 a contract for electrification was signed with English Electric, reconstruction began and an entirely new meter-gauge electric railway was inaugurated along the same route on 21 December 1924. The first double-truck motor cars - two passenger vehicles (A-l and A-2) and one freight - were built by Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Company in Birmingham, England; trucks and electrical equipment were by English Electric. An additional passenger car (A-3) and two more freight cars came from the same sources in 1927 and in 1932 the EFCJ bought English Electric trucks and electrical equipment and built its own passenger car (A-4). Two of the freight cars were later rebuilt to transport automobiles up the mountain. Passenger service along the flat section on top of the mountain continued to be provided by gasoline trams.

In 1956 the EFCJ acquired additional rolling stock from the abandoned Guarujá tramway near Santos: three passenger coaches, a dozen work cars, an electric steeplecab locomotive and three 8-wheel electric passenger trams built by M.A.N. in the 1920s. Electric trams A-5, A-6 and A-7 (ex-Guarujá 5, 9 and 7, respectively) replaced the gasoline cars in local tramway service between São Cristóvão and Emilio Ribas.

In recent years the English cars have been extensively rebuilt, with aluminum sides, stereo music and air conditioning. German tram A-5 was burned in a Carnaval celebration in 1976 and a washed-out bridge near Pindamonhangaba closed the mountain line for most of 1978. An English car overturned on the mountain section in July 1979 and the "auto trens" were retired when a new automobile road was built up the mountain in 1980. Service on the mountain section stopped altogether in 1982, but was restored in October 1986. The railway is operated today by the Secretaria de Esportes e Turismo. Car A-5 has been rebuilt and box motor V-2, pulling two open trailers, provides a weekend tourist service between Emilio Ribas and São Cristóvão. A new line is planned from Eugênio Lefévre to Santo Antônio do Pinhal. One of the gasoline trams is displayed at the top of the chair-lift on Elephant Hill.




This pleasant city, 140 km northeast of São Paulo and 20 km southwest of Pindamonhangaba, had two unconnected tram lines. The Empresa Carris Urbanos de Taubaté inaugurated an 800 mm gauge mule tramway from the railroad station south to the central square on 27 May 1879. There were three passenger cars and three freight cars on 2.6 km of track. In 1880 the Companhia de Bonds de Tremembê inaugurated a 600 mm gauge steam tramway from the other side of the railroad station north to the village of Tremembê, a distance of 10 km. The mule tramway quit about 1910, but the steam tramway continued until 1920 when the Central of Brazil Railroad rerouted its tracks through Tremembê, rendering the tramway superfluous. In 1945 the CBRR relaid its route a third time from Pindamonhangaba directly to Taubaté, bypassing Tremembé, but the tramway was not restored.




This city of 200,000 (1980), 50 km north of São Paulo, grew up at the junction of three steam railroads: the 1600 mm gauge São Paulo (Santos to Jundiaí), the 1600 mm gauge Paulista (Jundiaí to northwestern São Paulo state) and the meter-gauge Sorocabana (to the western part of the state). Jundiaí also had a 600 mm gauge mule tramway, from the railroad station to the center of town, from 1893 until 1896. An electric tramway project in 1914 was stifled by the war.




Sorocaba, 110 km west of Sao Paulo, is the home of the meter-gauge Sorocabana Railway - which today is part of the Ferrovia Paulista, S.A. (Sociedade Anônima), or "FEPASA." It was also the home of two other meter-gauge electric railways: a local tramway system and a separate 14 km interurban line from Sorocaba to the town of Votorantim and beyond. Population was 20,000 in 1910 and is 175,000 today.

Sorocaba, like nearby Piracicaba, never had horsecars. The local electric tramway was built and operated by the São Paulo Electric Company, which was organized in Toronto in 1910 to develop electric power in the western part of São Paulo state. SPEC became part of Brazilian Traction, Light & Power, the Canadian conglomerate, in 1912, and opened a hydroelectric plant at Itupararanga, 14 km south of Sorocaba, in 1914. On the eve of World War I it also signed a contract with the city to build a streetcar system. It ordered three 20 ft "nearside" cars from J. G. Brill in Philadelphia (o.n. 19512) and acquired three single-truck open cars from the tramway system in São Paulo. The closed cars, 1, 2 and 3, and the regauged open cars, inexplicably numbered 50, 52 and 54, opened the meter-gauge Sorocaba municipal tramway on 30 December 1915.

The closed cars were single-end - had doors on only one side - and the Sorocaba tramway may have been the first in Brazil to have turning loops. Trackage reached its maximum extent of 7 km in 1928. A suburban line projected to Salto de Pirapora was not built and the same six cars were still serving the same small system after World War II. São Paulo Electric donated the tramway to the city on 14 July 1951.

The Prefeitura Municipal opened a new depot on Rua Pedro Jacob and the cars were rebuilt by the Sorocabana Railway in 1954. The trestle over the Sorocaba River was replaced by a new bridge in 1957, but the tramway closed on 28 February 1959. After abandonment one of the closed cars was sold to the EFE Votorantim (see below).




The giant Votorantim Corporation operates a variety of enterprises - textile mills, soap factories, oil refineries, cement quarries - in the industrial area along the Sorocaba River and around the town of Votorantim, 7 km south of Sorocaba. In 1906 it built a 600 mm gauge steam railroad to connect them, from the Paulo Souza station in Sorocaba (adjacent to the Sorocabana station) to Votorantim and south to Santa Elena, where São Paulo Electric built its power plant in 1914. Miniature trains carried supplies and workers to the factories. Later the general public rode between the villages that grew up around them.

Westinghouse began electrificaion in 1920 and changed the railway's gauge to meter - permitting interchange with the Sorocabana. Three 13-bench double-truck open passenger motor cars and two 13-bench trailers came from J. G. Brill and the first 7 km of the new Estrada de Ferro Elétrica do Votorantim, between Paulo Souza and Votorantim, was inaugurated in the presence of São Paulo Governor Washington Luiz on 4 February 1922. [The origin of the equipment is somewhat mysterious. Photographs in the Brill archives corresponding to orders 21138 and 21139, dated 4 June 1920, show two 13-bench trams lettered "S. A. FABRICA VOTORANTIM." But entries in the Brill order book corresponding to these photographs identify the purchaser as "Byington & Co., Companhia Cantareira e Viação Fluminense," which was the tramway operator in Niterói. Byington was the Brazilian agent for Westinghouse, but no such trams are known to have run in Niterói and the connection, if any, between CCVF and EFEV is unknown. Another unidentified entry in the Brill order books, number 21879 of 25 August 1923, for a double-truck 11-bench car for "Byington & Co., Estrada de Ferro Electrica" may also be for Votorantim.] The remaining 7 km, to the Votoran cement factory and hydroelectric plant near Santa Elena, was regauged, electrified and reopened in 1923. The Votorantim electric line and the Sorocaba tramway intersected at grade near the bridge in Sorocaba.

In the 1930s an additional motor car and several trailers were acquired from the tramway system in Piraju, and during World War II the EFEV rebuilt its open passenger cars into closed models, with 10 windows and center doors. In 1959 it bought a 4-wheel closed car from the abandoned Sorocaba tramway and replaced the German-style bow collectors on its cars with unusual round wands (see photo). Service for the public was discontinued in 1966 and for employees of the Votoran cement factory at Santa Elena in 1977. Electric freight operation continued until 1986; the line is diesel-powered today.




Campinas is 100 km north of São Paulo: 90 minutes by one of the dozen daily trains, or 70 minutes by one of the hundred daily buses. It is a prosperous, cultured city with handsome avenues, a symphony orchestra, legitimate theaters (Sarah Bernhardt performed there), art museums, two universities, and a tourist tramway. Population was 45,000 in 1910 and is about a half-million today.

The Companhia Campineira de Carris de Ferro, organized in 1878, inaugurated mule traction in Campinas on 25 September 1879. The Companhia Campineira de Tracção, Luz e Força, organized in 1910, inaugurated electric traction in the city on 24 June 1912. The first eight l0-bench trolleys were ordered from J. G. Brill in 1911 (o.n. 17892), and eight more came from Philadelphia during the period 1912-1923 (o.n. 18516, 19882 & 21856). Alberto Byington, one of the directors of CCTL&F, was the Brazilian agent for Westinghouse and so Campinas streetcars had Westinghouse, rather than the more common General Electric, electrical equipment. The company later built its own cars and sold four trolleys to the electric tramway in nearby Piracicaba in 1915 and 1920. Both railways had 1000 mm gauge.

Campinas also had one of Brazil's few genuine interurban trolley lines. The Ramal Férreo Campineiro was a 600 mm gauge steam railroad built in 1894 between Campinas and Cabras, with a branch midway from Joaquim Egídio to Doutor Lacerda. CCTL&F acquired the railroad in 1911, rebuilt the tracks on the main line to meter gauge, and inaugurated a 17 km electric railway between Campinas and Arraial dos Souzas on 18 March 1917. Electrification was extended the remaining 15 km to Cabras in March 1919. Ordinary single-truck open streetcars ran on the line at first, but in 1919 CCTL&F ordered two double-truck closed passenger/baggage cars from Brill (o.n. 20761-2). Gasoline trams, of unknown origin, were placed in service on the branch from Joaquim Egídio to Doutor Lacerda, which still had 600 mm gauge.

The Campinas local tramway, Cabras electric line and Doutor Lacerda gasoline branch were all acquired by Electric Bond & Share, the U.S. corporation, in 1928 (see General History, Part 4). The CCTL&F name was retained, but the rolling stock was rebuilt: clerestories were removed, platforms were enclosed, the number of benches was changed from ten to nine, and cars were renumbered (erratically) in the l00s and 200s. Single-truck car 119, which kept its ten benches, had a distinctive railroad roof and became a railfan favorite. The Lacerda gasoline tramway closed on 1 October 1939. Tram operations were transferred in 1946 to the Companhia Paulista de Força e Luz, which sold the Cabras interurban line to the Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana on 18 August 1952. Most photographs of Cabras interurbans show the initials "EFS" on the front. The EFS replaced the two double-truck closed cars with four single-truck open cars that it acquired second-hand from the tramway system in Belo Horizonte.

The Campinas local tramway was taken over by the city on 30 September 1954: the new Companhia Campineira de Transportes Coletivos had 28 motor cars serving 13 routes on 58 km of track. The EFS closed the Cabras interurban line on 10 February 1960 and the first 7 km of the railway, from Campinas to Boa Esperança, became CCTC streetcar route 14. Campinas grew rapidly. The tramway system was almost entirely single track with passing sidings in narrow streets. Abandonments began in 1964 and the last trolley ran on 24 May 1968.

Tram nostalgia was high and on 5 November 1972 the impossible came true: the Prefeitura Municipal de Campinas inaugurated a new tramway around a lake in Taquaral Park. Four 9-bench trams, which had been preserved by city authorities, were repainted and put back into service: numbers 129, 132 and 125 became Taquaral 1, 3 and 4; and tram 2 from Piracicaba became Taquaral 2. The new circular line is 4 km long, operates Saturday and Sunday afternoons year round, and is subsidized by the Parks Department of the City of Campinas. The name of the park was officially changed to Parque Portugal in 1980, but residents, including taxi drivers, still refer to it as Taquaral.




Piracicaba, 75 km northwest of Campinas, is one of several small cities in Brazil that operated only electric trams. The city never had a steam or animal tramway. Population was 40,000 in 1910 and is 125,000 today. There is a large agriculture school - "Agronomia" - on the edge of town and proposals began in 1901 to build a tramway to take faculty and students downtown. On 30 September 1915 a contract was signed with the Southern Brazil Electric Company, an English organization that furnished local utilities, construction began and two l0-bench trolleys were brought from Campinas. The line opened on 15 January 1916, gauge was meter and the tram garage was on the university campus.

A route across the river to Vila Resende opened on 6 December 1921 and the following year a third line was built south to the Paulista Railroad station and a new tram depot. More cars were brought second hand from the Campinas tramway and Piracicaba became the Fort Collins of South America: the three trams of the three lines met every hour at the junction on Cathedral Square.

In 1928 Southern Brazil Electric was acquired by Electric Bond & Share, the U.S. holding company, and service deteriorated. This provoked the university students, who burned a tram to its axles when it arrived late at the campus on 29 April 1932. Piracicaba sent its cars to Campinas for remodeling in 1933 and the IBGE report for 1945 shows five motor cars, one trailer and 8 km of track. The Piracicaba tramway was acquired by the Prefeitura Municipal in 1950 and by the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz ("ESALQ"), which closed the Vila Resende and Estação lines, in 1967. Trolleys continued to run to the agriculture school until 3 October 1969.

The Piracicaba tram that was numbered 3 in the 1960s and had ten benches, rather than nine, is believed to have been one of the four cars that the Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana brought from Belo Horizonte in 1952 for use on its Campinas-Cabras interurban line. Piracicaba tram 4 was preserved and is displayed today at the Agronomia. Car 2 was rebuilt and placed back in service on the tourist tramway in Campinas on 5 November 1972.



São Carlos

São Carlos is 250 km northwest of São Paulo - about halfway across São Paulo state - on the Paulista Railroad's 1600 mm gauge main line to Araraquara. Population was 30,000 in 1910, is 110,000 today. The geometric street pattern shown on maps is deceptive: the town is built on the side of a hill and slants, sometimes steeply, toward the railroad in the valley.

Electricity arrived in 1890 and a short horsecar line opened in 1895, but was closed the next year by a yellow fever epidemic. The Companhia Paulista de Eletricidade signed a contract on 16 June 1912 to build an electric tramway and ordered six 7-bench passenger cars and four motorized freight cars from the Société Franco-Belge in La Croy¶re, Belgium. Track gauge was meter and the 15 km electric tramway began revenue service on 27 December 1914.

The three tram routes in São Carlos were identified - unusual on such a small system - by route numbers: 1 - Cemitério, 2 - Ginásio/Santa Casa, 3 - Vila Neri. There was an unusual practice - perhaps unique in the world - on the south end of Route 2. At a grade crossing with the electrified Paulista Railroad, the trolley wire stopped. The conductor lowered the bow collector, connected a cable between the end of the wire and the bow of the tram, and walked the car across the railroad tracks. On the other side, where the trolley wire resumed, the bow collector was replaced and the car continued on its way.

In the 1930s CPE rebuilt two freight cars into passenger cars and constructed a closed car out of a 9-bench open car which it purchased from the abandoned tramway in Piraju. The IBGE report for 1945 shows nine passenger cars, two trailers and two freight cars: the passenger trams bore odd numbers from 1 to 17. São Carlos had perhaps the only tramway in Brazil where the same cars were operated by the same company throughout their existence. The Companhia Paulista de Eletricidade - which had signed the contract exactly 50 years earlier to the day - ran the last trolley in São Carlos on 16 June 1962.

Open tram 7 was preserved by the local Rotary Club and was pictured on a state lottery ticket in 1978. It is beautifully displayed today in a shelter on Praça dos Voluntários in the center of town.




Piraju is a small but very interesting city in the coffee-growing district 340 km west of São Paulo, not far from the Paraná border. The location is remote and population was only 5,000 in 1915, is about 20,000 today. Piraju was the second-smallest city in Brazil - after Bom Sucesso - to have an urban electric tramway, and also had one of Brazil's few genuine interurban lines.

The Sorocabana Railroad line to Ourinhos passes through Manduri, 20 km north of Piraju, and in 1906 a railroad branch opened from Manduri to a point 3 km north of Piraju called Vila Tibiriçá (see map). This "Ramal de Piraju" was not built all the way into Piraju because of the presence of a wide, very deep valley along the Paranapanema River. The Caisse Générale de Prêts Fonciers et Industriels, a French organization, raised funds to build an electric tramway from the railroad station to the town and beyond Piraju into the rich coffee farmland. Bromberg, Hacker & Cia of São Paulo, an agent for Siemens-Schuckertwerke, installed a power plant at Boa Vista, 15 km south of the city, and Eduardo Guinle & Cia of Rio de Janeiro, the agent for General Electric, ordered an assortment of open passenger cars and freight equipment from J. G. Brill of Philadelphia in 1912 (o.n. 18435, 18543, 18581, 18583, 18585 & 18963).

The tramway began at the railroad station, wound down the hill on private right-of-way, crossed the Paranapanema River on a steel trestle and ran up Piraju's main street to a freight terminal at the south end of town. The interurban line branched off the local line at the bridge and ran across open country to Sarutaiá, 24 km southwest. Single-truck open passenger tram number 9 served the city line. Double-truck open passenger trams and freight equipment served the coffee plantations and brought passengers from Sarutaiá. The Tramway Electrico Municipal de Piraju began operation on 1 August and was formally inaugurated on 15 August 1915. Gauge was meter and the motor cars had American-style trolley poles.

The trolley trestle over the Paranapanema River was built by the Anglo-Brazilian Iron Company under the supervision of Kermit Roosevelt, second son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt visited his son in Piraju on 28 October 1913, prior to his famous 5-month hunting expedition in the Amazon jungle [Letters of Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge, 1951-54), v. 8, p. 1482].

Rolling stock in 1917 consisted of seven passenger cars and eight freight cars. The line was sold in 1921 to Marcos Rolim, a local industrialist, and to the local utilities outfit, the Companhia Luz e Força Santa Cruz, in 1925. Both passenger service and freight traffic were heavy and Santa Cruz planned to buy additional cars and extend the line to Carlópolis in Paraná state; if built, this would have been the only interstate electric railway in Brazil. Construction began on a new dam and hydroelectric plant on the Paranapanema River and trolley tracks were laid on a new bridge on top of the locks.

Santa Cruz changed its mind. A local historian says that the tramway closed in 1931. The dam wasn't dedicated - and supposedly the old trolley trestle wasn't submerged - until 1936 and the Guia Levi, the monthly publication which lists railway schedules throughout the state, shows trams still running from the railroad station to Piraju in April 1937 ["Piraju (Estação) - Piraju (Cidade), Cia. Luz e Força Sta. Cruz," April 1937 edition, p. 130]. City records declare the tramway officially closed on 2 August 1937. Either way, 1931 or 1937, it was the earliest closure of an electric tramway in Brazil.

Single-truck car 9 was sold to the tramway in São Carlos and some of the double-truck equipment was sold to Votorantim. The "Ramal de Piraju" railroad branch closed in 1965, tracks were removed and today the railroad station and tram terminal stand deserted in a field on the crest of the hill. The trolley carbarn in Piraju has been replaced by a Ford automobile agency and the freight depot on Rua Major Mariano is the present site of Piraju's interstate bus station.



Monte Alto

The Companhia Melhoramentos de Monte Alto operated a meter-gauge railway from the Ibitirama station of the Paulista Railroad, about 370 km northwest of São Paulo, through Monte Alto to the town of Vista Alegre, a distance of 33 km. Baldwin locomotives opened the first 9 km of the line to Monte Alto on 28 June 1908, and the remaining 24 km to Vista Alegre on 4 October 1916. Gasoline-powered railcars took over in April 1926 and both the 1937 Supplement to the World Survey of Foreign Railways and the IBGE reports for 1947 through 1951 describe the line as a gasoline tramway. IBGE mentions five passenger motor cars, two passenger trailers and seven freight cars. Operation continued through the 1960s.




Franca is the shoe-manufacturing capital of Brazil, in a northern corner of São Paulo state, 400 km from São Paulo city and 75 km south of the tramway that ran in Sacramento, Minas Gerais. A 600 mm gauge mule line operated between the Franca railroad station and its market square from 1877 until 1899.