Like Brazil's first light rail lines, which opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1983 and Campinas in 1993 – and unlike the new light rail line in Rio which opened in 2016 – Phase 1 of the new Santos line follows the path of an abandoned railroad. Freight trains ran there until 2008. (The new Rio system runs almost entirely on city streets which never had rails before.) The Empresa Metropolitana de Transportes Urbanos (EMTU), a government agency in São Paulo state, began construction in 2013 of the Sistema Integrado de Transporte Metropoliltano (SIM) between São Vicente and Santos on São Vicente Island. EMTU also ordered three 7-module light rail vehicles from Vossloh España in Valencia, Spain. Veículo Leve sobre Trilhos (VLT) A001 arrived in 2014 and began providing free rides to passengers on 27 April 2015. The photograph below shows the garage and yard at "Porto" station, near the extreme east end of the line [see map above] [Raimundo Rosa]:

SIM A003 was photographed in 2015 at José Monteiro station in São Vicente [see map]. That's the flag of São Paulo state (not of the USA!) on the front panel [Antonio Gorni]:

Here is the other side of the Santos VLT [Antonio Gorni]:

Nineteen more VLTs, numbered A004-A022, are being built for Santos by T'Trans in Três Rios, a small city 120 km north of Rio de Janeiro. T'Trans is also building new cars for the Santa Teresa tramway in Rio and, in the poster below, claims that it built Brazil's first VLT. Rather than Três Rios, most of the VLTs on the new light rail system in Rio are being constructed by the French firm, Alstom, at its plant in Taubaté near São Paulo.

The photograph below was taken above Pinheiro Machado station (lower left) in 2014, when the line was still under construction [see map]. The camera was facing west. Note tunnel entrance below the trees, part of São Vicente and Santos Bay (upper left).

A closeup of the tunnel entrance, with guard, after it opened in 2015. The photo was taken from the front of a VLT that had just left Nossa Sra. de Lourdes station [see map above] [Antonio Gorni]: 

The street railway era in Santos began with an 800 mm gauge line in 1871. The odd 1350 mm gauge of another line that opened in 1875 was adopted by the electric tram system that served the area from 1909 until 1971, and also by the tourist tramway that opened in 2000 and still runs today. Funded by the city, the latter's rolling stock consists of its original Scottish trams along with vehicles acquired from other tramway systems in Brazil, Portugal, Italy, U.S.A. and Japan. With 12 cars and 5 km of track, the Santos tourist tramway is easily the largest in Latin America. Here is one of the Scottish trams from the early 1900s [Emílio Pechini]:

The press attacks one of the three trams imported from Porto, Portugal. 193 is a "Brill type" constructed in Porto about 1930 [Emílio Pechini]:

Tram 3265 from Torino, Italy, was equipped with tables, chairs and coffee makers and made a Bonde Café. Passengers enjoy breakfast while touring the city. The car was built by Fiat in 1950 [mexido de idéias]:

The area's single trolleybus line – presently the only trolleybus line in existence in Brazil outside São Paulo – is a remnant of a large trolleybus system that opened in 1963. The six trolleybuses that run today on route 20 were built by Mafersa in Brazil and are operated by Viação Piracicabana. Like tourist tram 32 above, trolleybus 5303 is signed for Praça Mauá [Antonio Gorni]:

 Trolleybus operation was interrupted for 14 months beginning 4 June 2016 for the installation of special wire work at the line's intersection on Av. Dona Ana Costa with the VLT [see map above]. The trolleybuses finally returned to service on 22 August 2017.

To be continued... / Continua...



The author wishes to thank São Vicente resident Antonio Gorni for his help in the preparation of this page.



Also see pages about

The Tramways of Santos

The Trolleybuses of Latin America


Light Rail in Rio de Janeiro

If you have comments, criticism or suggestions,
please send an email to
Allen Morrison


This page was first uploaded on
23 August 2015. More pictures
were added on 15 August 2016.