Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil
This railroad linked the most important cities of Brazil: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. At that time, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil; São Paulo and Belo Horizonte were (and still are!) capitals of the São Paulo and Minas Gerais states, respectively. It also served the north of the Minas Gerais state. Its main objective - as explicited in the name of this railroad - was to serve the central regions of Brazil. However, this was never fully achieved. This state-owned railroad had relatively good operational standards, including eletrification in some lines (scrapped in 1982) and early dieselization. Its famous nocturnal luxury trains between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Cruzeiro do Sul and Santa Cruz) and Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte (Vera Cruz) still are legendary. The Santa Cruz and Vera Cruz luxury trains were created in the fifties and had stainless steel, air conditioned cars made by The Budd Company in the U.S.A., a must at that time. The Vera Cruz and Santa Cruz ended their careers in 1984 and 1991, respectively - the frequent delays and accidents during the trips promoted efficiently the plane and bus services between those cities... The Santa Cruz was reborn in 1994, renamed as Trem de Prata ("The Silver Train"), but disappeared again in 1998, victimed by the same problems that killed the Santa Cruz: low train speed (twelve hours to run 400 kilometers were not enough!), frequent disturbances during trips (forcing passengers to leave their comfortable cabinets to complete the trip in buses), increasingly cheaper air tickets and lack of interest of the new railroad operator, M.R.S. Logística, to assure good operational performance to passenger trains.
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Last Update: 04 October 2003
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© Antonio Augusto Gorni