FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Steaming to sunset

Posted in Brazil, Morro Grande, Tubarão by folkestonejack on July 10, 2013

The new supply of coal was loaded and it was time to get back on the road. Our first port of call was the Congonhas Bridge, a spot now very familiar to us, but this time we were down in the fields rather than up on the hillside. The route to the perfect spot involved crossing a wooden footbridge, skirting a field and then walking a short distance along the riverside – all of which was rewarded by a magnificent view.

The view was terrific in its own right but when combined with a steam freight made for a very special moment. It struck me as being the highlight of the trip to date, so I hope I managed to do it some justice!

Santa Fe no. 205 at the Ponte de Congonhas

Santa Fe no. 205 at the Ponte de Congonhas

Now we had to re-trace our steps in a frantic dash back to the minibuses. The railway had agreed to hold our train on the line for 15 minutes but no longer. One by one the minibuses filled up and disappeared in a dust cloud, heading across the lowlands at speed (no mean feat given the incredibly bumpy dirt road).

At the other end we emerged in time to watch our freight train cross the lowlands, passing a farmstead that looked no different on the outside than it did in photographs from the 1980s.

Santa Fe no. 205 crosses the lowlands

Santa Fe no. 205 crosses the lowlands

Our freight train made it to the loop between Jaguaruna and Morro Grande where diesel freights in both directions were threaded past. A moment like this reminded us that the modern railway had to be applauded for their flexibility, it must have been incredible tricky to find a path for our train given that traffic has doubled in recent months.

Santa Fe no. 205 was the star of the show

The star of the show

After both diesel freights had passed we continued on to Morro Grande, where the Santa Fe attracted much attention from locals by the lineside.

The final shot of the day came at a factory by the motorway. At first it seemed a little bit of a head-scratcher but in the end I settled for a contre-jour shot with some of the wooden stacks in the factory grounds. I was a little unconvinced as I was setting up but quite like the end result!

The last shot of the day

The last shot of the day

In the evening we had an impromptu viewing of the museum’s CD of the line in the 1980s. It is an incredible record of how things were under real working conditions – quite remarkable footage. The CD is available for sale from the museum and is well worth every real.


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