Particularities of the evolution of railways in Brazil

When thinking about means of transport, people generally don't give due respect to Brazil's railways. Even though it has always been part of the country's history, it is a type of tool that often goes unnoticed by people. Much of this occurs because the evolution of railroads in Brazil was quite complicated. It is a journey full of transformations, which at the present moment is finally available to be fully realized.

Precisely what makes the evolution of railroads in Brazil unique is the fact that it managed to adjust despite certain problems that could spell the end of the Brazilian rail sector. This alone demonstrates the importance of railroads in the country, despite a certain forgetfulness that occurs on the part of governments and businessmen. The system was structured tightly to exist, and now with the right circumstances, it can also propel itself along with the country. And what guarantees the reputation of resilience of the evolution of railroads in Brazil is the fact that it has gone through two important moments: nationalization and privatization.

Nationalization and privatization

evolução das ferrovias no brasil

For many years, during the second half of the 19th century and until the beginning of the 1930s, the railroads in Brazil were controlled by foreign and independent capital. During the period of the Empire, there were even laws that encouraged the construction of a railway network. Growing more and more with the country's requirements, the extension of the network in Brazil reached more than 27 thousand kilometers in distance, adapting to new technologies such as electric traction, which helped to boost the modal further in the country.

This demonstrates how everything was on the right path for the evolution of railroads in Brazil, however, with the arrival of new policies in the country, the scenario changed. With Getúlio Vargas in government, state-owned policy became heavily enforced in the country, making nationalization the main political path at the time. As a result, foreign capital, which sought to preserve the large network already built, was discarded by the historic moment in Brazil when highways became the new important means of transport for the government.

In the following years, he started to notice a huge decrease in the growth of the rail networks in the country, with the total focus on the construction of highways. In the 1940s, the production of new knitwear almost came to an end, until Juscelino Kubitschek, during the state period in the 1950s, tried to rebuild the system. The networks regain a partial importance in the country, reaching the greatest extent that the entire national territory has ever seen, but the efforts are not enough, the nationalization during the military dictatorship did not get the same attention, and already in the 1960s, the railways have its relevance diminished again. 

Arriving at its worst period, the Brazilian rail network then undergoes a decades-long scrapping, which is only interrupted in the 1990s, when privatization finally takes place. Privatization allows for a new lease of life, of a new type of capital and interest that will emerge in Brazil. New technologies then begin to be integrated, new intermodal connection policies, new connections and previously unused accesses. The evolution of railroads in Brazil reaches its apex.

Evolution of railway construction in Brazil

tecnologias para evolução das ferrovias no brasil

Railways began to attract attention in Brazil at the very beginning of its worldwide proliferation. As mentioned before, the construction of railways in the country began in the 19th century, during the Empire, and the first railway was also the first intermodal in the country. With its use, it was possible to connect ports and cities in the country, creating several intermodal connections in a period when this was not something common. Coffee production was one of the commodities that most ended up taking advantage of the railroads during that time,due to the ease of access between the coast and the interior.

Needless to say, this was of extreme benefit to all regions involved. From the Estrada de Ferro de Mauá to the Estrada de Ferro São Paulo Railway, through which the railway network passed, technology and development were brought. Because of this, several cities connected to São Paulo ended up growing very industrially.

Currently, what is happening with the railways is that they are in the process of reinvestment. The North-South Highway, for example, was awarded at auction to an international company that will now manage the sector alongside the government. With the recent privatizations of the last 25 years,a future of expansion for the railways is visible, which will bring with it again the development of the regions that are involved.

Technological evolution of railroads in Brazil

bullet train

Another special feature of the evolution of railroads in Brazil is how technologies have been integrated throughout their history. Also going back to its origins in the Empire, the technologies used there ended up being important for how the mesh would be developed in the country.

In the beginning, inadequate construction technology was used, which brought with it wide varieties of gauges, something that made integration between stations and rails difficult. This was due to the construction planning, which at the time did not aim to connect the railways with the Brazilian domestic market.

Due to this “disagreement” that occurred, much of the foreign capital was not properly invested, due to the fact that the technologies were not properly schematized in order to actually create a connection scheme between the rails and cities. Which is exactly what is being tweaked at the moment.

As described, the management of the Brazilian rail network is again private, but with government supervision. This allows new possibilities of technological integration for several reasons, starting with the fact that it will be possible to integrate sectors, which was impossible in the times of the Empire. In fact, this is exactly what happened during the first four years after the concession of the railways by the government, an intense readaptation on the part of the concessionaires so that the new technology that will be used is in accordance with what the demands of the modern world require.

Another very important factor in the evolution of railroads in Brazil and its current involvement with technology is that there are now also new ways of manufacturing meshes and railroads. Technologies such as logistical hubs,bullet trains, intermodal categories with access to machines and AI.

All these new forms of adaptation, fully integrated by MASSA in order to continue this evolution of the railroads in Brazil, are extremely important so that the country does not lose again a moment of national proliferation. Railways were long forgotten, but now new heights are being reached.

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