BRAZIL: Natal’s suburban Linha Sul has been extended by one station from Parnamirim to Boa Esperança.
The extension is intended to form the first part of a new Linha Branca, which will effectively extend Linha Sul to Nísia Floresta.
The city’s diesel-operated 1 000 mm gauge suburban network currently consists of two lines totalling 56 route-km and 23 stops: Linha Norte to Ceará Mirim and Linha Sul to Parnamirim.
Being built in three phases, and due for completion in the second half of 2022, Linha Branca, will run for 23·4 km and serve six stations, including Boa Esperança. Opening of the new line it is projected to increase ridership on the network by more than 50%.
Construction of a similar extension to Linha Norte, began last September. Branded as Linha Roxa, this will add 4·1 route-km and three stations: BR-101 Norte, Guararapes and Vicunha. It is expected to boost the number of daily passengers on the network by more than 2 000.
Brazil’s federal government is making a significant financial contribution to both extensions. Completion of the two lines will make the Greater Natal rail network the most extensive in Brazil’s Nordeste region and the third largest in the country after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.