Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro

A Broken Dream: The C.P. in the Beginning of the New Millennium

What have we done, Maggie, what have we done
What have we done... to England
Should we shout, should we scream
"What have happened to the post war dream"?
Oh Maggie... Maggie, what have we done?!

During the last years of Compania Paulista as a private company, in the early sixties, there were projects and rumours about the introduction of new high speed trains that would run over its main lines, that would be upgraded to allow passenger commercial operation at an average speed of 150 km/h. The takeover of the railroad by the São Paulo state, in June 1961, apparently aborted these plans. This promise reappeared only in 1988, when some high speed trials with a V8 locomotive in a revamped segment of tracks yielded good results: the train reached 146 km/h.

But this dream never come true in commercial operation. Situation was already very bad in 1988, as can be seen in an O Estado de São Paulo article published in may of that year.

In the late eighties the solution apparently was railroad privatization, including FEPASA>. In the beginning of the new millennium - and, again, under private administration -, instead of high speed trains, we certainly have the worst quality standards since the birth of this legendary railroad. The slow decline during the sixties, seventies and eighties had a steep rise during the nineties, just after the São Paulo government announced the FEPASA privatization. The prior transfer of FEPASA to the Brazilian federal government, as a compensation for São Paulo state debts, only worsened this situation. After the privatization we see a chaos scenary: stations abandoned, electrification and signaling systems scrapped, passenger trains being suppressed... This is the final attack against one of the main Brazilian railroads, the war is almost over, the final cut is iminent! Dozens and dozens of hard work and technical mastery spent in the building of the most advanced Brazilian railroad are being crushed... dust... in the wind!

The lyrics in this Special Section were extracted from the song The Post War Dream, from the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.

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Last Update: 14 June 2003

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