The International Steam Pages

Steam in Brazil, November 2009

Thomas Schultz reports - see also my own "Tourist Railways in Brazil, 2008" page:


Schwihag, the Swiss firm with whom I work, asked that I assist with staffing their booth at a railway industry trade show staged in São Paulo, Brazil in November, 2009. In an effort to sample some of Brazil’s preserved steam, I traveled to São Paulo three days early. With the assistance of Sergio Martire, a retired Brazilian railway enthusiast, four Brazilian tourist railways were visited. Six locomotives, mostly Baldwin products, were photographed in steam.


  1. Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas (EFOM): São João del Rei – Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
  2. Trem das Águas: São Lourenço - Soledade de Minas, Minas Gerais
  3. Trem da Serra da Mantiqueira: Passa-Quatro - Coronel Fulgêncio, Minas Gerais
  4. Associação Brasileira de Preservação Ferroviária (ABPF): Cruseiro, São Paulo
  5. Viação Férrea Campinas Jaguariúna: Campinas – Jaguariúna, São Paulo
  6. Memorial do Imigrante: São Paulo, São Paulo
  7. Instituto de Ferrovias e Preservação do Patrimônio Cultural (IFPPC), Perus – Cajamar, São Paulo

Preparing for the Trip

Before traveling to Brazil, several weekend days were spent on the Internet, researching Brazil’s railways and railway preservation scene. Larger than continental USA, Brazil is a huge country, comprised of 27 States. My visit would include only two Brazilian States: São Paulo – and – Minas Gerais.

Brazil’s railways include four gauges:

  • 2’ 6” (762 mm)
  • Meter gauge, 1.0 meter
  • “Standard” gauge, 4’ 8½”
  • “Broad” gauge, 1.6 meters (5’ 3”)

Since the end of regular service steam operations, a number of preserved railways have been developed. Internet searches located the group, “Associação Brasileira de Preservação Ferroviária” (ABPF), the Brazilian equivalent of NRHS in USA. Following various Internet links eventually landed me at a website maintained by John Kirchner, a railway enthusiast living in Southern California who has made many trips to Central and South America, including Brazil.

John Kirchner was contacted. He kindly put me in touch with Sergio Martire, a Brazilian railway enthusiast living in São Paulo. Sergio was contacted. He offered to accompany me on a three-day tour of several preserved railways which featured steam operations.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Travel to Brazil from Sacramento consisted of two flights:

  • United 332, non-stop from Sacramento to Chicago – O’Hare, connecting to:
  • United 843, non-stop overnight from Chicago to Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), the main airport for São Paulo.

Upon my arrival just after noon, I was met by Sergio Martire. We proceeded to the Avis car rental counter where a rental had been reserved in my name. Once the car was rented, with Sergio driving, we proceeded immediately toward our first destination: São João del Rei in Minas Gerais State.

The city of São Paulo is located within the State of São Paulo (similar to New York, New York). With a population of over 22 million, São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world. Although vehicular traffic in São Paulo can be horrendous, our passage through the northern portion of the city just after noon was without incident.

The drive from São Paulo to São João del Rei required 7.5 hours. We arrived in São João Del Rei in the early evening, where Sergio had booked a room for us at Hotel Ponte Real, one of the city’s better hotels. At least four other hotels were noted in São João del Rei, each of which is within easy walking distance to the EFOM railway station / railway museum complex.

Hotel Ponte Real featured clean, modern rooms, a gated parking lot, and wireless Internet access.

Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas (EFOM): São João del Rei – Tiradentes, Minas Gerais

After breakfast on Friday morning, Sergio and I walked the few blocks from Hotel Ponte Real to the EFOM depot, museum and roundhouse compound in São João del Rei.

On Friday, November 6, 2009, EFOM 68, 2-8-0 (BLW 52256 / 1919) is depicted moving through the yard between the roundhouse and the São João del Rei station.

Like the Durango & Silverton, C&TS, East Broad Top or Sumpter Valley in USA, EFOM’s 2’ 6” gauge trackage between São João del Rei and Tiradentes, Minas Gerais is the remnant of a once much larger system. At its peak this railway's route totaled 482 miles (775 km).

Today, what remains of the former EFOM system is preserved as a museum complex in São João del Rei – and – a tourist railway which operates between São João del Rei and Tiradentes, a distance of 8 miles (13 Km) one-way. Turntables exist at both ends of this line, allowing steam locomotives to be operated chimney-first in both directions. 
In São João del Rei, both a railway museum, adjacent to the railway station – and – a restored 360° roundhouse exist.

The EFOM collection includes 18 steam locomotives, 4 of which are serviceable. The vast majority of the steam locomotives on hand at São João Del Rei were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for this railway. EFOM locomotives are lettered, “OM.” All locomotives are 2’ 6” gauge unless otherwise noted:

Serviceable Locomotives

  • EFOM 22, 4-4-0 (BLW 38009 / 1912)
  • EFOM 41, 4-4-0 (BLW 38011 / 1912)
  • EFOM 42, 4-4-0 (BLW 38050 / 1912)
  • EFOM 68, 2-8-0 (BLW 52256 / 1919)

Locomotives on Display

  • EFOM 1, 4-6-0 (BLW 5055 / 1880), São João del Rei station museum
  • EFOM 21, 4-4-0 (BLW 38008 / 1912), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 37, 4-6-0 (BLW 37082 / 1911), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 38, 4-6-0 (BLW 37083 / 1911), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 40, 4-6-0 (BLW 38010 / 1912), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 43, 4-6-0 (BLW 38051 / 1912), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 55, 2-8-0 (BLW 12934 / 1892), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 60, 2-8-0 (BLW 13832 / 1893), São João del Rei station
  • EFOM 62, 2-8-0 (BLW 13831 / 1893), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 69, 2-8-0 (BLW 14134 / 1894), São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 220, 4-6-0 (BLW 38015 / 1912), meter gauge, São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 239, 4-6-0 (BLW 54061 / 1920), meter gauge, São João del Rei roundhouse
  • EFOM 307, 4-6-2 (Schwarzkopf 8799 / 1926), meter gauge, São João del Rei roundhouse
  • Central , 0-8-0T (Orenstein & Koppel 3049 / 1927), 600mm gauge, São João del Rei station

The EFOM website states that steam trains operate between São João del Rei and Tiradentes most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Upon our arrival at the São João del Rei station, we found OM 68 in steam, shunting in the yard. Although we had been previously informed that a steam train would be operating on the weekend of our visit, on that Friday we were informed that no train would operate between São João del Rei and Tiradentes on either Friday or Saturday. (Sergio Martire has since said that the railway was temporarily closed in October 2009 and will reopen in January 2010.)

Inside the roundhouse, seven Baldwin locomotives original to EFOM are preserved, three meter gauge locomotives and a track inspection car also occupy roundhouse stalls.

Included in the collection of railway equipment protected in the São João del Rei roundhouse are a track inspection car and a funeral car. On the track inspection car, note the cowcatcher and headlamps. This car was pushed in front of the locomotive, allowing officials to view the track in front of the train. The funeral car was used to transport corpses from homes along the railway right-of-way in the countryside, where no access to highways existed.

Above, interior views of the track inspection car. In the center view, the seats can be folded-down to become beds for overnight trips. The pole along the interior ceiling can accommodate a privacy drape.

Around noon on Friday, November 6, 2009, we departed São João del Rei and headed for São Lourenço. En route to São Lourenço, we made a brief visit to Tiradentes, the end of the tourist line. The village of Tiradentes is quite interesting. Horse-drawn carriages meet arriving steam-hauled tourist trains, transporting visitors to the Tiradentes town center. Many “pousadas” (bed-and-breakfast style accommodations) exist in Tiradentes, as do many interesting restaurants and gift shops. Most streets in Tiradentes, are paved with huge slabs of stone, which required low speeds when driving a car.

Driving across Minas Gerais State, Brazil reminded me a bit of Hawaii. Like most tropical destinations, the air was warm and humid. We crossed several ranges of small mountains, passed groves of palm and banana trees, and observed coffee plantations and large stands of bamboo. At one point, a toucan landed in a tree just above the road. In the early evening, we arrived at São Lourenço, our destination and a popular spa and resort city. Upon our arrival, we visited the São Lourenço railway station, where Manuela 8, 0-4-0T (Krauss 2902 / 1889), 800mm gauge, is plinthed on the station platform. Sergio commented: "This locomotive is former Docas de Santos 800mm gauge "Mont Serrat," renamed "Manuela."

Although we could see along the station platform the train which would operate on the following morning, the station and platform area were closed, so we proceeded to Hotel Guanabara, where Sergio booked us into our two rooms. Hotel Guanabara featured a gated parking area, and free wireless Internet access.

Estrada de Ferro Minas-Rio

ABPF operate the “Trem das Águas” at São Lourenço, Minas Gerais and the “Trem da Serra da Mantiqueira” at Passa Quatro, Minas Gerais. ABPF repair operations are maintained at Cruzeiro, São Paulo. These three locations were all once part of the meter gauge Estrada de Ferro Minas-Rio (Minas-Rio Railway), which was built in 1884 between Cruzeiro, São Paulo and Três Corações, Minas Gerais. A brief history of this line follows:

  • 1884 – 1908: EF Minas-Rio
  • 1908 – 1935: In 1908, EF Minas-Rio merged with EF Muzambinho
  • 1935 – 1957: Rede Mineira de Viação (RMV)
  • 1957 – 1996: RFFSA. Final regular service passenger trains on this line were operated in 1991.
  • 1997 – Present: Small portions of this line are operated by ABPF.

The map (right) from 1898 depicts E. F. De Muzambinho – and – E. F. Minas Rio, two railways which were merged in 1908. Thick lines are the E. F. De Muzambinho; the thin line is E. F. Minas Rio. At Cruzeiro, meter-gauge E. F. Minas-Rio connected with broad gauge Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil. 

During the period 1997 – 2001, ABPF operated steam-powered tourist trains between Cruzeiro and Passa Quatro. A severe landslide in 2001 just south of the summit tunnel between Passa Quatro and Cruzeiro severed the southern-most portion of this line.

Once upon a time, Soledade de Minas was an important railway junction, where the Minas-Rio Railway crossed and interchanged with the Sapucahy Railway.

Map source:

Trem das Águas or “Water Train,” which ABPF operates between São Lourenço and Soledade de Minas, is so named to credit the many water-related spas in the communities of São Lourenço, Cambuquira and Caxambu.


Trem das Águas: São Lourenço - Soledade de Minas, Minas Gerais

On the morning of Saturday, November 7, 2009, Leopoldina Railway 327, 4-6-2 (Beyer Peacock 6509 / 1928), wood-burner, is shown at (Sergio Martire picture) and departing the São Lourenço station. ABPF operate Trem das Águas or “Water Train” on former Minas-Rio Railway between São Lourenço and Soledade de Minas, a distance of 6 miles (10 km) one-way. Steam powered trains depart São Lourenço on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Locomotives operate chimney-first northbound, then run-around the train at Soledade de Minas, returning to São Lourenço tender-first. 

Above, left: Prior to boarding at São Lourenço. Above, right: Arriving in Soledade de Minas. In former times, passenger trains served both sides of the Soledade de Minas railway station’s platforms.

Prior to boarding at São Lourenço, local cheese, wine and craft vendors sold their wares to arriving passengers. Once on board the train, samples of cheese and wine were offered by attractive young Brazilian women. At Soledade de Minas, a farmers’ market greeted tourists arriving by train. The route between São Lourenço and Soledade de Minas roughly follows the course of Rio Verde, or “Green River.” 

Trem da Serra da Mantiqueira: Passa-Quatro - Coronel Fulgêncio, Minas Gerais

ABPF operate steam-powered tourist trains each Saturday afternoon between Passa Quatro and Coronel Fulgêncio, the station just north of the tunnel portal. RMV 332, 4-6-2 (BLW 58852 / 1925), wood-burner, is shown preparing to depart Passa Quatro on the afternoon of Saturday, November 7, 2009.

Between Passa Quatro and Cruseiro lies the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range. This range includes the highest peaks in São Paulo State, including several of the highest mountains in all of Brazil. The summit of these mountains defines the border between the States of Minas Gerais and São Paulo. This image (right) depicts the view to the south from the pass between Passa Quatro and Cruzeiro. Directly under this point is the railway tunnel.

Associação Brasileira de Preservação Ferroviária (ABPF), Cruzeiro, São Paulo

Following our visit to Passa Quatro, Sergio and I drove south, over the pass in the Serra da Mantiqueira mountains, and down to Cruzerio, São Paulo, site of an ABPF repair facility. Since the landslide in 2001, the southern-most portion of the Minas-Rio Railway has been cut-off from the remainder of the line. Consequently, locomotives and cars must be trucked to ABPF’s repair site. Our visit on Saturday, November 7, 2009 found two locomotives with a coat of fresh paint:

EF Sorocabana 207, 4-6-2 (Hartmann 4638 / 1925), perhaps the only Hartman locomotive in Brazil.

EF Leopoldina e Cia. de Cimento Mauá 103, 0-6-0 (NBL 25914 / 1946) 

ABPF 4, 0-4-0ST (ALCO 6862 / 1932), ex-Lone Star Cement Co. + Central 1424, 2-8-2 (BLW 38162 / 1912), originally EF Oeste de Minas. 

Several ex-sugar cane locomotives await repair.

Adjacent to the ABPF shop area is Cruzeiro’s former passenger station, with meter-gauge tracks on the left (west) and broad gauge tracks of the present day MRS Railway on the opposite (east) side. At least one dual-gauge switch (right) remains in the ABPF Cruzeiro yard. In the distance: a disused RMV shop.

Upon the conclusion of our visit to ABPF / Cruzeiro, Sergio and I drove to Jaguariúna, São Paulo – the northern terminus of ABPF’s Anhumas - Carlos Gomes – Jaguariúna line. Sergio recommended Hotel Jaguary Jaguariúna, situated directly across the street from the turntable adjacent to the Jaguariúna railway station. Hotel Jaguary Jaguariúna featured a gated parking area, and free wireless Internet access. The former railway station in Jaguariúna now houses an interesting restaurant, specializing in al fresco dining on the former platforms – and – in sizzling platters of steak. Sergio and I enjoyed dinner at the railway station restaurant, then returned to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Viação Férrea Campinas Jaguariúna, Campinas, São Paulo: Anhumas - Carlos Gomes - Jaguariúna.

Approximately 60 miles (100 Km) north of São Paulo, SP is Campinas, SP. Here, ABPF operate steam-powered passenger trains on the former Companhia Mogiana de Estradas de Ferro (CMEF) meter gauge line. All serviceable steam locomotives are wood-burners. Steam is operational Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 14:00.

Serviceable steam locomotives:

  • ABPF 338, 4-6-2, 3-cylinder (BLW 58884 / 1925), ex-Rede Mineira de Viação (RMV)

  • Central 1170, 2-8-0 (ALCO 52333 / 1912)

  • RMV 505, 2-8-2 (Schwartzkopf / Berlin 8904 / 1927)

  • ABPF 215, 4-6-0 (BLW 37710 / 1912)

  • EFA 9, 4-8-0 (A. Borsig / Berlin 8502 / 1912), ex-Estrada de Ferro Araraquara

  • NOB 401, 4-6-2 (Baldwin 53766 / 1920), ex-Rede Mineira de Viação

  • ABPF 4, 0-4-0T (Henschel / Cassel 20642 / 1925), ex-sugar cane railway

  • Mogiana 980, 0-4-0 (Hohenzollern / Düsseldorf 980 / 1886)

  • Sucrerie Piracicaba 5, 2-6-2T (BLW 39486 / 1913)

  • RMV 222, 2-8-0 (BLW 37517 / 1912)

Not Serviceable:

  • Companhia Mocyana (MC) 302, 4-6-0 (Beyer Peacock / Gorton Foundry, Manchester 3824 / 1896), compound

  • Morgiana 405, 4-6-0 (Beyer Peacock 3466 / 1892), compound

  • ABPF 50, 0-10-0, (Henschel / Kassel 21687 / 1930), copper firebox (problems)

  • Morgiana 725, 2-8-2 (ALCO 65543 / 1924)

  • RMV 210, 4-6-0 (BLW 35818 / 1911), under repair

  • ABPF 604 "Inayé," 4-6-0 (BLW 14225 / 1895)

The map on the right depicts the CMEF. The portion now operated by ABPF is located at the extreme southern end of the system.

On the morning of Sunday, November 8, 2009, Sergio and I drove from Jaguariúna back to Anhumas, a station located on the northern outskirts of Campinas.

We were greeted by ABPF 338 + RMV 505, both in steam, which were preparing to double-head the day’s excursion to Jaguariúna. We rode the train to Jaguariúna, where the locomotives were turned. On the return trip, I disembarked at Carlos Gomes, the station at the midpoint of the line, and site of this railway’s maintenance facilities. Numerous locomotives are stored at the Carlos Gomes shop, as are several examples of stainless steel passenger cars, designed in USA by Budd, and built in Brazil. Also in the ABPF collection at Carlos Gomes is a Brazilian-built version of a Budd RCD. Additional images and insights can be found on Antonio Augusto Gorni’s website. See “Interesting Links:” at the end of this report.

Map source:

Shortly after noon on Sunday, November 8, 2009, ABPF 338 + RMV 505 prepare to depart Jaguariúna for the return trip to Anhumas. The Jaguariúna railway station is visible in the background. Below is 302 at Carlos Gomez:

RMV 505 on the Jaguariúna turntable. 

ABPF 215 in steam at Jaguariúna.

Al fresco dining at Jaguariúna railway station.

Our train departing Jaguariúna for Anhumas. 

Sergio Martire (right) discusses strategy with an ABPF colleague.

Budd-designed stainless steel passenger cars (plus an RDC) in the ABPF collection at Carlos Gomes.

Memorial do Imigrante, São Paulo, São Paulo

In Brazil, only a handful of broad gauge (1600 mm) steam locomotives are serviceable. Among these is Central 5, 0-6-0T (BLW 55341 / 1922), which operates at Memorial do Imigrante Saturday and Sunday every half hour from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. One-way distance: 1 km. Also serviceable at this site is Central 353, 4-6-2, 3-cylinder (BLW 59736 / 1927). In former times, immigrants to Brazil were processed at this facility, similar to Ellis Island in USA. Once admitted, many immigrants boarded trains for distant destinations right at this building (without traveling first to São Paulo’s main railway station). It is for this reason that a short steam train ride has been included in the Memorial do Imigrante museum complex. This is Sergio Martire's photo.

Instituto de Ferrovias e Preservação do Patrimônio Cultural

Among the exhibitors at the 2009 “Business on Rails” trade show in São Paulo was Instituto de Ferrovias e Preservação do Patrimônio Cultural (IFPPC). This group is working to restore a portion of a 600mm gauge railway located in the northern suburbs of São Paulo. The above image, recorded on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, depicts CBCP 8, 0-4-2T (Orenstein & Koppel 5990 / 1912) one of the serviceable locomotives. 


Hotel Ponte Real Hotel Guanabara, Av. Eduardo Magalhães, 254, São João Del Rei - MG, 36300-000, Brazil, Tel: + (55) (32) 3371-7000 URL: link broken 5th April 2019

Hotel Guanabara, Av. Getúlio Vargas, 423, São Lourenço - MG, 37470-000, Brazil, Tel: + (55) (35) 3332-2020 URL: link broken 5th April 2019

Hotel Jaguary Jaguariúna, Rua Amazonas, 4, Jaguariúna - SP, 13820-000, Brazil, Tel: + (55) (19) 3837-3882 URL:  

Brasilia Small Town Hotel, Rua Doutor Olavo Egídio, 420 - Santana, São Paulo - SP, 02037-000, Brazil, Tel: + (55) (11) 2281-3355 URL: (link broken by December 2021)

Toll Roads in Brazil

On most of Brazil’s limited-access highways, tolls are charged. Visitors should be prepared to pay for tolls in Brazil’s currency, the Real.

Visa Requirements

Visitors to Brazil from USA require visas, which are available from Brazilian consular offices in USA. Brazil’s visa requirements are somewhat complicated. Prospective visitors to Brazil are advised to read and follow carefully the instructions provided on the websites of Brazil’s consulates.

Some Useful Links

Reference Book

Inventário das Locomotivas a Vapor no Brasil / Inventory of Steam Engines in Brazil, by Regina Perez, ISBN 85-906677-0-7, in both Portuguese and English, includes color images and details of every known steam locomotive in Brazil.

Abbreviations and Translations 

SP: São Paulo 
MG: Minas Gerais
Estrada de Ferro: Railroad / Railway 
Estações Ferroviárias: Railway Stations 
ABPF: Associação Brasileira de Preservação Ferroviária, the Brazilian equivalent of NRHS 
IFPPC: Instituto de Ferrovias e Preservação do Patrimônio Cultural 
CEP: Códigos de Endereçamento Postal, the Brazilian Postal Code 
Maria Fumaça: Literally translated as “Smoking Mary,” this term is used by many Brazilians use to reference steam locomotives.

Rob Dickinson