Sunday, 4 March 2012

Last train to Bauru-SP

26 NOVEMBER 1999 - The day Cia. Paulista de Estrada de Ferro died

I had the dubious 'privilege' to be included in a very select list of 9 passangers who took the last train to leave Campinas Railway Station on 26 November 1999 towards Baurú-SP in what would turn out to be the last train ride to the West of the state of São Paulo; what a weird  and sad trip that was.

Actually it felt like I were on a 'ghost train' going nowhere because the cars were deserted and one could walk and find no one around. When the train eventually stopped at a station - it would be empty and derelict.

Since the rightwing governments of Mario Covas and Orestes Quercia privitized Fepasa in the early 90s, the railway had been left for dead. In the contract was a clause which made the US company that bought it to provide a passanger-service up to a certain date... and this date was fast approaching. So it was all a farce.

There was only one train a week, that would leave Campinas station on a Wednesday morning and arrive in Bauru around 5 PM. I knew of that arrangement and was there on the Wed. 27 October 1999 but the train did not move. So I had to take a bus back to São Paulo. I was about to give it all up but 4 weeks later I went back to Campinas at the right hour and took what would be the very LAST TRAIN to the West of the State of São Paulo.

There were only 9 passangers. There was a man who was an enthusiast of trains but unfortunately I never got his name. We left Campinas towards Bauru and that was it! Most of the smaller stations were destroyed or closed. I think after leaving Campinas we stopped at Americana, Limeira, Cordeiropolis that used to be a junction to Araras and Descalvado; then Rio Claro so dear to me because had visited as a child; Ityrapina which was another junction that led to Araraquara. After Ityrapina we stopped at Canela and Pederneiras.

The trains stopped some time after we left Pederneiras because thieves had tampered with the over-head electric cables trying to sell the cables as scrap metal. The train driver and some of his work mates had to climb onto the train and try to fix the problem. It took about half-an-hour to get the job done and then we left for the very last bit of the trip that took us to Bauru station. What a sad experience. I felt I was running against time.

I kept thinking about Fernando Antonio Amorim my grandfather who was so enthusiastic about railways. He died in 1969 but I've always felt his presence in my thoughts. He would never understand how such a beautiful and powerful transportation system died of such an ignominious and degrading death.  

Waiting for Godot at the Campinas platform... waiting for the last train to travel from Campinas to Bauru - 26 November 1999.

Americana was deserted and dirty.

Limeira station was completely abandoned...

Ghost train with empty cars that were there only as a part of contractual obligations of the company.

Six-year Victor was the only child in the ghost-train to Baurú.

Ityrapina which had been such an important junction to Araraquara was a ghost-town.

Pederneiras was really sad...

After Pederneiras the train had to stop because the electrical cables had been tampered with by thieves who work during the night. The train driver and its sidekicks had to climb onto the top of the train to get the cables fixed. It took half an hour to get the job done while we were in the middle of nowhere.


final destination: Baurú... in the twilight zone...

Bauru train station

Iimpressive Art-Deco Noroeste Railway administrative building at Bauru train terminal.

Baurú train station.

Companhia Paulista de Estrada de Ferro trunk map covering São Paulo state.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, my friend...

In 1947, my cousin Nilza Darin was rushed to hospital in far-away Campos de Jordão in one of these special cars. She had a nasty strain of  tuberculosis and unfortunately died soon after arriving.  

symbol of excellency and reliability...

the locomotives were big and awsome...

this was a classic one... all blue and beautiful... it look something out of a ghotic Batman movie.

these were the dining cars... believe it or not.

how beautiful it was...

my favourite CP locomotive... all blue...

And this is Marilia train station after more than half-a-century of right-wing politics... first came the Military Dictatorship, then Franco Montoro, Orestes Quercia, Mario Covas, Geraldo Alckimin, Jose Serra and Alckmin again... As one can see right-wing-politics is NO good for anyone's health... I wonder when Marilians will wake up and vote LEFT for once in their lives.

Neglect is the word...

1 comment:

  1. Parabens Carlus, muito organizado seu registro, uma documentaçao preciosa!!