Business

Railway project delays and corruption keep Brazil off the tracks

Brazil is the only country of its size not to have national passenger railway networks, and cargo routes pale in comparison to its peers

Railway project delays and corruption keep Brazil off the tracks
Railway bridge in Rio Grande do Sul. Photo: Paulo de Abreu/Shutterstock

Along with a large part of the world, Brazil adopted railway transport at the end of the 19th century, importing British technology, designs, and materials. The first Brazilian railway began operations in 1854, located in the interior of São Paulo state, before the mode of transport spread countrywide. The peak of Brazil’s rail network came during the presidency of Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-1961), reaching 32,287 kilometers before the military dictatorship began eradicating railways deemed to be “deficient.”

As a result, at the end of the 1980s, Brazil had practically no passenger railways, despite its huge size and population. The only...

Access all of The Brazilian Report
Start your 7-day free trial.
Free trial