The International Steam Pages

The Perus-Pirapora Railway 2012

James Waite revisited a railway he had last seen back in 1977 in August 2012 and what follows is a brief summary and some pictures of the trip. There are a number of reports and articles on the Perus-Pirapora Railway on this website if you want to know more:

Here are some photos from the 600mm gauge EF Perus-Pirapora just north of Sao Paulo. I first visited the line back in 1977 when it was very busy transporting limestone from the quarries at Cajamar to the old cement factory near Perus, around 15km away. Back in those days there were around 10 daily trains each way. Up until the early 1970's there had also been a passenger service but even after it had officially ended many trains included one coach for the benefit of the locals. One of the people we met there last month recalled how, as a child, he and his chums would catch fish in the river and place them on the track in order to make the train slip to a halt and then they could board!

The line closed in 1983 but was left to sleep instead of being scrapped. The preservation society (IFPCC ) got going around 3 years ago and relies mostly on volunteer input for the work of clearing and repairing the line and in retrieving and restoring the locos and stock. So far they have restored 2 of the locos plus around 3km of track and expect to reopen another 5km over the next few months. They're a really friendly group of people and I'm extremely grateful for Julio Moraes, their president, to Leandro Guidini who is their engineer and a committed and knowledgeable enthusiast as well as being the driver of the loco and to all their colleagues for their great hospitality during our visit in August 2012. It's not often that a complete train has been run just for us! Without their help in many ways we would probably never have made the trip to Brazil. Thank you very much indeed.

The preservation operation is based at Corredor yard, around 3km west of the old cement factory. Back in the line's working days trains often stopped here for assistance for the steep climb up to the factory. Since 2011 they have been running trains every Sunday, currently the running line is just a little under 3km long but an extension westwards is in the active planning stage. The contractor who will probably carry out its refurbishment travelled with us during our ride.

In addition to noís. 2 and 8, six other locos had been moved to Corredor from Cajamar and Gato Negro. More locos were moved last September, some to Corredor and others to safe storage at the Natura premises. Part of the trackbed is missing south of Cajamar and so movement of the locos has to be by road and needs the services of a mobile crane. All this costs money of course. There are further locos which await movement as and when funds permit, many of them the residents of a dead line at Cajamar that had already become well established by the time I visited in 1977. Almost unbelievably itís little changed since then.

This is a really fun line and well worth going a long way to visit. The Sunday trains start from a small platform beside the quarry road at the eastern end of the run. Head for the Estrada de Perus, a secondary road which heads westwards from the town towards a junction with the Rod. de Anhanguera, one of two motorways which head northwards from S„o Paulo towards Campinas. The junction for the quarry road is on its northern side just to the west of the big bridge where the Rod. de Bandeirantes, the other motorway to Campinas, crosses over it but thereís no junction here. Corredor yard is located at the end of a veritable maze of forest tracks and I can say from personal experience that itís not an easy place to find! Itís much better to head for the quarry road and travel to Corredor by train instead!

Baldwin 2-6-2 no. 10 at Corredor awaiting restoration.

ALCO 2-4-2ST no. 2 working our special train.

More of the special train with no. 8 behind at Corredor, it is now back in working order.

'Restoration Row' at Corredor, there will be no shortage of work for many years...

Rob Dickinson