Brazilian railway: the first line dates back to 1854 but already in 1889 the rail network extended for 10,000 kilometres. The network is now divided into 12 concessions run by 5 private undertakings and two state-owned enterprises.
Today, the Brazilian railway network extends for 29,817 km, 28,314 of which are managed through 12 concessions controlled by five private undertakings and two state-owned enterprises. The percentage of rail freight – for passenger services are largely restricted to the metropolitan network and there are virtually no long distance links – is equivalent to 25% of the total (freight carried by road amounts to 58%, by water 13%, by air and pipeline a mere 4%) less than that encountered in other countries of similar dimensions. If we exclude Russia, where 81% of the total freight travels by rail (a totally unique situation), in Canada the rate is 46%, while in Australia and the United States it is 43% and in China 37%. The Brazilian government, also in the light of these data, has launched plan to develop logistics and cargo transport, which aims to increase the railway’s share to a significant degree in the years to come.
Before analysing how the Brazilian network is structured today, a brief historical excursus may be of interest to aid our understanding of when the train arrived inBraziland how it took root in this large South American country.
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