Mauá also was an integration pioneer
The first Brazilian railroad, the Estrada de Ferro Mauá, was built by a businessman Irineu Evangelsita de Souza (subsequently the Baron of Mauá) to please Emperor Pedro II, who enjoyed going up the mountain to Petropolis in the summer with his family. The steam engine-pulled train trip, supplemented by a stretch by boat, reduced the time it took between the court in Rio de Janeiro and Petropolis, from almost two days to less than 12 hours.
The railroad was inaugurated in 1854. Before taking the train, first it was necessary to cross Guanabara Bay in a boat that left Porto da Prainha, currently the Port of Rio de Janeiro, near Praça Mauá. The boat Provided at Porto da Estrela — in the back of Guanabara Bay, where today the municipality of Magé is located. From there, the emperor when by train until Vila Inhomirim, at the foot of the Serra dos Órgãos range, a 14.5-km stretch of track. The trip was operated entirely by the Companhia de Navegaçnão Estrada de Ferro Mauá.
The stretch between the bottom of the mountain at Raiz da Serra until Petropolis was by horse-drawn carriage or horseback. Also inaugurated at that time was the integration of transportation modes, which more than a century later would be recognized as a modern and intelligent solution to resolve the problem own locomotion in large cities.
In 1883, the train also conquered the mountain through one of the first mountain railroads to be built anywhere in world. Conceived by French engineer Nicolau Riggenbach, the project consisted of placing a central track for a cogged chain that hauled the train to an altitude of 891 meters. At the top of the mountain, the railroad returned to the normal system and in another 2.78 km reached the Petropolis station. This stretch was baptized the Estrada de Ferro Principe Grão Pará. Later, this railroad — together with the E.F. Mauá — was merge taken over by Estrada de Ferro Leopoldina.
Right up until today, the city of Petropolis maintains its charm and preserve some of the hallmarks of the imperial family’s stay there. However, very little remains of the modern engineering marvel that drove the growth of the region, although the train and its cog system operated until 1964.
From that time, there are still two cog railroad locomotives in existence and two carriages. One of the engines is located in a poor state of conservation at the Train Museum in Rio de Janeiro. It is number 1, manufactured by Baldwin in 1897. In 1938, it was rebuilt at the Alto da Serra workshops of E.F. Leopoldina.
One of the few remaining landmarks of the railroad in Petropolis is the marquise from the original train station. Today the city’s bus station is at the location, but the marquise is the same one that was used for the railroad station.