A return to the past: the history of the railroad that connected the

A return to the past: the history of the railroad that connected the
A return to the past: the history of the railroad that connected the

A return to the past. This is the feeling of those who walk through the collection that holds a piece of the history of the railroad that once crossed Ceará from north to south. The railroad was of great importance for the development of the State: it shortened distances, facilitated communications and boosted the economy, in addition to expanding, in quantity and speed, the transport of agricultural and livestock production – from the hinterland to the capital, and of products industrialized in the opposite way – from Fortaleza to the interior. And this story begins at the time of the Empire, in 1870.

The railway was inaugurated in sections. The first train left João Felipe station and its little more than 7 km of tracks connected the center to the Parangaba neighborhood. The process of installing the railroad went through several administrations. It took 53 years to complete the 599 kilometers that would finally connect Fortaleza to the city of Crato, in the southern region of the state.

Check VT of the matter

The historian, Tayrone Cândido, is the one who brings a little of the context in which the railways were created here: “They began to be built in the context of the great expansion of railways around the world, in the 19th century, especially in the second half of that century. The railroads were closely associated with the idea of ​​progress, the modernization of societies, it is an increase for the capitalist economy. with a coffee production center, which was Baturité, cutting through a region that also favored the production, above all, of cotton”, he explains.

Mr. Hamilton Pereira was an employee of RFFSA, a company that for many years was responsible for putting the trains, literally, on the tracks. But since he was a child he already used the vehicle as a means of transport and he keeps many memories and stories from that time: “the main memory is of my trips to the countryside, which went to, for example, Sobral, Crato. They were comfortable cars, the blue dream, it had air conditioning, music – and there were also the other older trains. We would see those landscapes of the sertão, the animals, the plants, the water, especially in the winter time, it was even more beautiful”, he recalls. .

With his gray hair protected by a cap, he walks where, in the past, passengers would walk waiting for the transport and, as in a teleportation exercise, this time he takes up the wagons of his own memory – it is as if, in that instant, together with him, we could glimpse the past: “I’ll close my eyes and I’ll go back to the 50’s, 60’s. buildings. People just talking to me and I saying – have a nice trip, see you soon, come back often. It was the story we used to hear here, – look at the bags, sir, my suitcase. So I hear it all there, with my eyes closed and if I open it now, I see modernism”.

Your Hamilton is still amazed at the new clothes that cover the vestiges of time. After the station’s renovation, the structure still looks the same, “but in this part here it wasn’t this roof, no, it was tile. those who are happy to see that, at least this little piece of railroad history, will still have a lot to tell.

Seu Marcos Cabral, another former engineer, also follows the same path of history: “I was born in this area, all the railway, in the backyard of my house there were already the rails, it was already the locomotive, it was already the wagon, and I was already playing around there , along with other sons of railroad colleagues as well”. Marcos also tells of the long trips that his family used to take, due to his father’s job: “At that time when we were children, we used to travel on business, my father was on the job, and we, the family, usually accompanied him, because the wagon was a dormitory car, we moved from the bed in the house to the bed in the car”, he says.

But far beyond the expansion and progress that the railways brought, there was another side of the story that not everyone knows, as Tayrone explains: “so you see a lot in Brazil these railways being praised and celebrated as symbols of progress, but many Sometimes those behind the initiatives for the construction of these railroads were these agrarian elites, exporters, slave owners. Ceará was no different in this aspect”.

The historian also explains that with the great drought that occurred in Ceará, in 1877, at the end of the 19th century, the expansion of the railroads had other objectives besides the so-called progress: “the expansion of the railroads was linked to the public aid policies , which started to guide the construction of several enterprises considered strategic to bring what, at the time, they called material improvements – roads, railways, dams –, at the same time that these works aimed to occupy [nas frentes de trabalho] the great multitude of migrants who, due to the droughts themselves, were forced to migrate”.

Unlike many other stretches of the railway, which over time fell into disuse, the first station in Ceará, located in the city center, was restored to take on new purposes and was also renamed: from Estação João Felipe, it was renamed Estação das Art.

Today, a good part of the building is already in operation with a series of cultural programs. And until the end of this year, it should also house the new headquarters of the Railway Museum, where the public will have the opportunity to see and learn a little more about its own history, as Cristina Holanda, the museum’s director, explains: “it is a very It is made up of paintings, furniture, equipment, and allows us to recount, from various angles, the memory of the Ceará railroad, not only the memory of the railroad in the sense of the machine, the train, but of the people who also lived the railroad, who worked on it or were passengers”.

A story that is kept in the memory and, mainly, in the hearts of those who lived the period up close: “Whoever has railroad blood never leaves. The blood is not red, no, it’s rust”, says Mr. veins from which the iron-colored blood flows.

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Source: BdF Ceará

Editing: Thales Schmidt and Camila Garcia

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: return history railroad connected

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