"In and Around the Railway Station" São João del Rei Travelogue by glabah
São João del Rei Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 57 photos
The train sheds are one of the items that Ferrovia Centro Atlantica has spent some time, effort and money restoring.
A lot of work has appanrently been done on the line recently by their people, and they should be complimented on their work. It is great to see this treasure restored.
Please also see the Tiradentes page for photos of other parts of the railway. Also see the Must-See activity page for a little more information.
I thought a view of the train station would be helpful for those visiting and wanting to ride the train.
In August of 2003, when I visited, the trains were only running on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, plus occasional charter trips.
Some of the train sheds and other places inside the station have been conveted into museum areas.
The main section of the train sheds are still active track.
The line still has its wonderful roundhouse. It is a complete, 360 degree circle. Very few roundhouses in North America were built this way, even at the peak of steam power on the railways. To see it on a narrow gauge line filled my mind with images of what this place must have been like when there were still over 120 miles of track in service.
The indisde of the roundhouse still has a large selection of steam locomotives inside. One concession to modern times: the tracks inside the roundhouse feature both meter gauge and 30 inch gauge track, for some of the other historic equipment.
The turntables used for turning the locomotives are innocent of electric motors. They must be pushed by hand.
The station complex has a wall around it for security. Here, a train leaves the complex and heads to Tiradentes. It is a 4-6-0, and is pulling some 7 cars filled with people. I've heard that it is sometimes impossible to find a place to sit on the trains. The fact that there are this many people riding the trains shows how popular this railroad has become with tourists.
One of the items in the museum collection inside the station in Sao Joao del Rei is a business car. This is a portable office located inside a railroad car, so that it can be moved from place to place as needed. These are very common all over the world. However, it is not common to have such high class of travel on a 30 inch gauge railroad. The 120 miles of track and amount of traffic apparently required such unusual services.
Other Web Sites
This railroad was a favorite of many steam railway fans. Among the web sites that feature it is the Narrow Gauge Heaven web site. About half of their Brazil photos are of this railroad.
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