Sao Paulo (Photo Joel Santana Joelfotos, Pixabay)

BRAZIL: Outgoing state governor of São Paulo Rodrigo Garcia has signed a technical agreement with the federal Ministry of Infrastructure that marks another milestone in the long process to reinstate inter-city trains between São Paulo and Campinas.

The agreement inked on November 4 paves the way for bids to be called to appoint a public-private partnership that will operate the service. It includes provision for the future concessionaire to assume the rights and obligations of São Paulo suburban operator Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos for the section of route that currently forms part of CPTM Line 7.

The state government said that ‘the purpose of the agreement with federal government is to forward guidelines to the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) and to the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (DNIT), in order to guide the actions needed to implement the northern section of the Trem Intercidades project and achieve segregation between cargo and passenger trains, in particular through the early extension of the MRS Logística concession contract’.

Freight concession

MRS secured a 30-year extension to its concession to operate freight services on its 1 643 km broad and mixed gauge network in July this year. Under the agreement, about R$3∙7bn will be spent on ‘works of public interest’ that include provision of separate tracks for CPTM passenger services, so helping to secure the viability of the inter-city project.

The technical agreement between federal and state government follows an accord signed in October between the São Paulo state government and Rumo Logística that provided for a package of measures detailing the arrangements for segregating passenger trains from Rumo’s freight operations between Jundiaí and Campinas.

Of the 137 route-km between São Paulo, Campinas and Americana, the 54 km between São Paulo Barra Funda and Jundiaí is shared with MRS Logística and the other 83 km with Rumo.

Initially, only the 101 km between Barra Funda and Campinas will be served by inter-city passenger trains. An extension from Campinas to Americana looks feasible in the longer term as it has the support of São Paulo governor-elect Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, who is expected to take office in January ― de Freitas was previously Minister for Infrastructure in the Jair Bolsonaro government before he stepped down in order to run for the São Paulo governorship.

It now appears that the bidding auction for the inter-city project may have to be held over until next year as the recent federal and state elections have caused further delay to the tendering process. Previously, the intention had been to publish the tender notice in August and hold the bidding auction during November.