Official journal of the Light Rail Transit Association

London: February 1990

(p. 63)

The Tramways of Brazil - a 130-year survey, by Allen Morrison. 200 pages, 270 x 215 mm, 258 photographs, 49 maps. Published by the author in New York; US distributor Harold E. Cox, 80 Virginia Terrace, Forty Fort, PA 18704; available in Europe from LRTA Publications, 13A The Precinct, Broxbourne, Herts EN10 7HY, price £15. ISBN 0-9622348-1-8.

This book is an extraordinary achievement, an English-language Brazilian equivalent of "Great British Tramway Networks", the kind of book that appears only once in a decade. The author made the acquaintance of Charles J. Dunlop, former secretary of the Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light & Power Company, and was evidently so fascinated by what he thus learned about Brazilian tramways that he decided to complete the story and publish it as a book. The task has taken ten years of travel and research, plus learning Portuguese. Brazil has had 100 tramways, 48 of them electric, and most of them bought their cars in the USA, with smaller numbers from England, Belgium and Germany. In later years these were joined by secondhand cars from various North American tramways, including New York, Staten Island, Brockton, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Providence, Worcester and York, some of which survive today in parks and playgrounds. There was also much trading in secondhand trams within Brazil, which must have been even harder to trace. Everything about this book - corporate histories, photo coverage, maps, bibliography - is impressive, and in the academic world would certainly qualify the author for a PhD or equivalent. British readers will be frequently reminded of Portugal, especially with the open cars of Sintra which were the most commonly-used type in Brazil. There is plenty of tramway folklore, such as the tram which would stop for ladies only (men could jump on as it passed) and a few tragedies, such as that in which a funeral tram ran away down a hill "causing additional fatalities", and so incensing the population that the system never reopened. (J.H.P.)

["J.H.P." = J. H. Price]

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