WORK is expected to start shortly on upgrading tracks for passenger services in the Brazilian city of João Pessoa.

A limited diesel-hauled suburban service has been operating for some time over the 28 km between Cabedelo on the coast and the inland suburb of Santa Rita, serving seven intermediate stops. At present there are 12 trains each way per day, offering an end-to-end journey time of 51 min.

CBTU is hoping to make available around R$30m for the work, which will include the construction of another station at Alto do Mateus. Track improvements will see replacement of wooden sleepers by concrete on 3 km of the route, and levelling and alignment work on 16 km. Rehabilitation of eight more coaches will allow a third trainset to be introduced. CBTUHead of Operations Jarbas José says the upgrading will improve both safety and operating performance.

Around 9200 passengers a day were being carried in January this year, and the city hopes that this will increase to 21000 a day when the upgrading work has been completed.