"Coal Moving Railway in Tubarão" Tubarão by glabah
Tubarão Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 11 photos
The Dona Tereza Christina railway has historically been a coal hauling railway. As diesel fuel was relatively remote, and the government administration encouraging energy independence anyway, the railway continued to use steam locomotives most all of its needs into the 1990's.
The railroad connects to no other railroad system in Brasil, and is layed to meter gauge. The line operates from the port city of Imbituba through Tubarão, to the mining areas in the areas nearby.
Several things happened in the 1990's that changed the situation for the railroad.
1. Brazil started importing basic mineral materials. This included both petrolium and coal. While diesel fuel became less expensive, coal became less used due to steel mills in Brazil using coal from China and Poland, which was more suitable for steel making than the coal found near Tubarão. Thus, traffic on the line was declining, allowing the complete dieselization of the line with only a few diesel locomotive purchases.
2. The line, like almost all (except for local commuter railroads) in Brazil, was converted to private operation by the federal railway network.
So, the line was essentially converted to diesel operation in the 1990's.
Furthermore, the line had much less traffic than before. Mine to port traffic ceased to exist. The remaining traffic on the line was generated by the power plant at Capivari de Baixo.
Yet, steam locomotives continue on the Dona Tereza Christina. A local chapter of the ABPF (Associação Brasileira de Preservação Ferroviária - Brazilian Association for the Preservation of the Railway) has started a local museum in the area.
Locomotives, however, are not just kept in cold storage in a building. Because the railroad has no connection with other railroads, getting new locomotives to the line is not extremely easy. Therefore, some of the locomotives owned by the ABPF are kept in operable condition, and occasionally used on the railway.
For more photos of the line, see my Imbituba and Esplanada pages. Also, be sure to take a look at the Travelogue for Tubarao as well, as there are more photos there.
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