São Paulo Governor Tarcísio de Freitas (Photo Sergio Barzaghi,Governo do Estado de SP)

BRAZIL: São Paulo Governor Tarcísio de Freitas and State Deputy Dirceu Dalben signed the long-awaited contract with the Brazilian-Chinese C2 Mobilidade sobre Trilhos Consortium for the Trem Intercidades Eixo Norte in Campinas on June 3.

Covering the development and implementation of a São Paulo – Campinas regional inter-city service starting in 2031, an Intermetropolitano service between Jundiaí and Campinas due to launch in 2029, as well as operation of suburban Line7-Rubi, the deal had been formally approved on May 29.

Under the terms of the concession that comes into force in 2026, around R$14∙2bn will be invested in the 1 600 mm gauge route. In the intervening period the consortium will draw up plans for finance, land expropriation and housing resettlement. On-site work is expected to begin in August 2026.

Dirceu Dalben enthused that ‘today is a historic day, the Intercidade Train is a reality.’ Asserting that ‘throughout my entire political career, I have defended the use of railways to transport passengers’, he viewed rail as ‘a more efficient, sustainable and economical model, which will help reduce the number of vehicles on the highways, the emission of pollutants and make the population’s daily lives easier’. The Deputy was ‘very happy to be part of this story, to contribute to the progress and development of the Metropolitan Region of Campinas and our entire State.’

São Paulo nos Trilhos programme

Governor Tarcísio de Freitas used the occasion to announce the formal launch of the São Paulo nos Trilhos programme, details of which he had outlined on May 29 in Campinas. This ambitious package brings together more than 40 projects covering over 1 000 km of regional, suburban and light rail schemes with a total investment spend of R$194bn.

Nine of the projects have already been ‘qualified’ by the São Paulo Investment Partnerships Secretariat, including the TIC Eixo Norte scheme for regional inter-city passenger services between São Paulo and Campinas.

The other qualified projects include three more regional inter-city routes radiating from São Paulo, plus various suburban and metro lines. Also qualified are the planned São Paulo metro lines 19 and 20 as well as light rail projects in Campinas and Sorocaba.

Secretary of Investment Partnerships Rafael Benini had highlighted the importance of expanding the metro and suburban networks and gave details of a package of extensions. These included lengthening of Line 2, extending Line 4 to Taboão da Serra, Line 5 to Jardim Ângela, Line 6 to Moóca and Line 9 to Água Branca. Extensions to monorail routes 15 and 17 were also mentioned.

Studies for possible concessions will cover metro lines 1, 2 and 3 and suburban lines 11, 12 and 13 currently operated by Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos.

The Trem Intercidades Eixo Sul (South Axis Intercity Train) scheme envisages trains linking São Paulo and the port of Santos with a 90 min journey time. Three potential routes ranging from 115 km to 130 km in length are being examined in feasibility studies, and the cost of the necessary upgrading varies between R$9bn and R$15bn. One option would make use of the existing freight route with a 10 km rack section up the Serra do Mar escarpment and the other two would run via Mongaguá on the coast. São Paulo suburban Line Turquesa would form part of the concession.

The Trem Intercidades Eixo Leste project would link São Paulo with São José dos Campos to the northeast of the São Paulo conurbation. Feasibility studies will examine three route options ranging from 80 km to 130 km. Associated with the R$10bn proposal will be integration with suburban Line 13.

The Trem Intercidades Eixo Oeste would join the state capital with Sorocaba. The R$8∙5bn project has reached the stage of technical studies and an auction has been scheduled for 2025.

The proposed R$4∙5bn light rail network in Campinas would have two routes and 18 stations: a 22 km line to Hortolândia and Sumaré and a 22∙4 km line to Viracopos International Airport. The project is expected to be auctioned in 2027.

The 25 km route planned in Sorocaba would run on an east-west alignment through the city centre and include a connection to the planned inter-city service.

Speaking on May 29, the Governor had stressed the importance of the rail mode for São Paulo state, noting it had grown around its rail network and ‘large cities were born on the sides of the tracks. There is a great effort by the state government to revive rail transport, which is urgent and important.’ He pointed out that ‘highways are increasingly congested’ and argued for ‘a sustainable solution that matches what the world does. If we are going to start reviving passenger rail in Brazil, this has to happen in São Paulo. We have a railway future that is being reborn, we are going to make the railway reborn in the state of São Paulo and the people of São Paulo to travel by train again’.

Commenting after the announcement on June 3, Dirceu Dalben pointed out that ‘all of this is the result of work that we started back in 2019, together with Governor Tarcísio, who at the time … was Minister of Infrastructure’. He and the Governor had argued for early renewal of the Paulista network concession, he continued, with compensation in the form of ‘construction of viaducts over the railway line, the expansion of underpasses, the implementation of pedestrian walkways, improvements to the network and, mainly, the authorisation so that part of the railway used to transport cargo could also be used to transport passengers. With the grace of God, first of all, and also a lot of work from our mandate and Governor Tarcísio’s attitude, today we are transforming these dreams’, he concluded.