Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Riding the Serra Verde Express train, in Paraná State!

© Paula Alvarado

© Paula Alvarado

When the plan to build the Serra Verde Express came up in the 1860s, it was the most complex work of engineering in Brazil, considered impossible by European professionals at the time.
But the train was necessary: not only to connect cities in the Brazilian seaboard, but also to move the grain production from the south to the Paranagua Port for exportation (the main function why many railways were built in Latin America and a function this train still fulfills).
Plans began in 1870 but construction started in 1880, with the work of 9,000 men in three different fronts. To everyone's surprise, it was completed in only five years.
Connecting Curitiba with Paranagua in the state of Paraná, the railway the train travels on is 610 kilometers long (380 miles) and goes through 13 tunnels and 30 bridges, one of them -the Ponte Sao Joao- 55 meters high, and another -the Viaduto do Carvalho- which sits on five pillars of masonry on rock slope.
Of the five stations the train initially had, three are active today: one that leaves you at the Marumbi State Park (below), another that takes you to the historical town of Morretes, and the final stop at Paranagua, on the coast. It's a three-hour, unique trip to appreciate some of what's left of Brazil's Atlantic Forest.
© Paula Alvarado
Since it's a tourist train, its speed is easy enough not to plow animals; and since it's noisy, most of them stay away. Which makes you feel better about approaching this area without annoying too much.
© Paula Alvarado
The train leaves daily from Curitiba to Morretes, with tickets starting at a reasonable price of 94 Reais (27 US Dollars /2017 exchange rate). After arrival, you can come back with it, get a cheaper ticket and a faster ride on a bus, or stay in Morretes (above) to enjoy the sleepy streets surrounded by green hills and the grass by the river.
© Paula Alvarado
Source: credit to treehugger

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