Last Traditional Interurban Train in the Americas
My visit to Pindamonhangaba was primarily to visit the Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordao, which has the reputation of being the last traditional interurban-style electric railway left in the Americas.
The line travels to Campos do Jordao, which is a tourist destination.
The line also visits other tourist destinations, including the "Piracuama clear water park kingdom" ( Parque Reino das Aguas Claras Piracuama). This is a sign at the road entrance to the park, but the railway is actually slightly closer.
The railway travels through some very spectacular scenery, as well as the countryside before climbing the mountains. The photo here was taken near the highest point on railway lines in Brasil.
The official web site for this railway is at http://www.efcj.com.br
More photos of this railway are available at the EFCJ section of the Brazilian Railway Photo Album. More of my photos of this railway are available on my Campos do Jord?o page.
Nearby, in Cruzeiro, there is a restored steam locomotive operating on a line operated by a railway preservation group.
Other interesting electric railroads in Brasil include the Itatinga Tramway and the Santa Tereza Tramway in Rio de Janeiro.
Pindamonhangaba to Campos do Jordão by Train
These photos include line-side photos of trains on the Estrada de Ferro Campos do Jordão, from Pindamonhangaba to near Campos do Jordão. The line passes through a number of communities, some of which are too small to be found on the virtual tourist database. A few are simple clusters of houses near a simple covered platform.
The EFCJ is a meter gauge electric railroad that climbs to the highest spot on a railroad in Brasil. It also climbs the steepest non-rack railway in Brasil: an 11% grade.
This is a picture of the train station and operating offices of the EFCJ in Pindamonhangaba. The platform where passengers actually board is across the tracks.
This is yet another photo taken in the shops complex in Pindamonhangaba. From left to right here are:
A tower car for working on the overhead wires.
The front end of a very old work motor.
The cab of a steam locomotive (see my Pindamonhangaba intro page to see these beautifully painted German steamers from a different angle).
Here is a closer look at the steam locomotives.
Note how well maintained the shop buildings are.
Pindamonhangaba isn't an extremely large city. The trains are quickly outside the city in the surrounding countryside. Here, a 1930's motor passenger car and french-built passenger car trailer make up a short train. The train is between Pindamonhangaba and the first of several stations along the line.
The typical platform in a number of these small communities looks like this. The columns are made from old railroad rail. At one time such platforms were common along the interurban railways in North America, but unfortunately there are no longer interurban railways like this one in North America.
After going through some farmlands in relatively flat ground, the line starts to climb the hills. Some spectacular views are available during clear days.
As pictured here, it is getting obvious that the flat ground we had seen earlier is not what this railroad is really about.
The red arrows in this photo point to the railway line as it climbs the hill. In several places it climbs steeper than the paralleling road.
Despite the distance we have climbed, we are only about halfway up the side of the mountain range.
From the same location as the above photo, here is a train climbing the hill. Only these newer motor cars (still over 50 years old) are allowed to carry passengers on this steep section of the railway.