Over nearly two years, the Memória Ferroviária (Railway Memory) Project catalogued all of the steam locomotives remaining in Brazil. The Project’s teams – made up of a researcher and a photographer – traveled throughout the country. In all, the teams logged more than 40,000 kilometers in airplanes and 25,000 kilometers on highways, reaching extreme outposts such as Parnaíba in Piauí and Guajará-Mirim in Rondônia. A total of 419 steam locomotives were found in 190 cities of 20 states, as well as the Federal Capital.
Owned by railroads, ports, large farms, warehouses and sugar mills, these engines were witnesses to an extensive period of Brazilian history, going from the era of the Baron of Mauá (1850s) until the massive introduction of automobile transportation. They played a part in the economic cycles of their periods, beginning with coffee in São Paulo; they took immigrants arriving at the Port of Santos to the São Paulo upper plain; they hauled sugar cane produced in Northeastern Brazil and the northern Rio de Janeiro sugar plantations; they transported politicians and businessmen between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; they made the iron ore mines of Minas Gerais economically feasible and introduced Brazil to the modern world.
The Memória Ferroviária Project was conducted by Notícia & Cia. in partnership with Revista Ferroviária magazine. The end result of this work was the publication of a book, Inventory of Steam Engines in Brazil – the first complete survey of the collection of steam locomotives running on Brazilian tracks for the 100 years spanning the second half of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century.
Produced in the form of a commented and illustrated list, the Inventory is an art book about Brazil’s railroad heritage; it is a reference work containing primary information to assist researchers of Brazilian history; and it is an inventory for organizers of future railroad museums.
Each locomotive was located and photographed in the state in which it was found at the time the survey was conducted. Each one of the machines that were catalogued will be the subject of a technical reference card containing the characteristics of the equipment. The book contains a technical article discussing the evolution of steam technology. Some groups of locomotives have been highlighted in the opening pages of the book, selected because of their historic importance.
The Inventory of Steam Engines in Brazil has 304 pages and over 600 photos and illustrations. It is bilingual, published in Portuguese and English, and was launched at the Track Business Fair 2006 in São Paulo.