Much of the railway system that was hastily erected to facilitate the nineteenth century gold rush in Brazil now stands either abandoned or is used only for commercial purposes. These days Brazilians prefer to drive or fly the long distances between major towns and cities, however, there are some sections of the network in which passenger services and scenic railways continue to thrive. These usually lead travellers on scenic journeys through lush vegetation and verdant mountains and offer a rare glimpse of the wild and largely undisturbed interior of a country so heavily populated on the coast.
There are several railways to choose from, mainly spread across the south of the country and of varying lengths. The most famous is the Serra Verde Express, which cuts through mountain scenery between the southern cities of Curitiba and Morretes. The Vitória-Minas Railway is the only daily service in Brazil that links two state capitals; Vitória in Espírito Santo and Belo Horizonte in the historic state of Minas Gerais. The Pantanal Express, as the name suggests, carries passengers through the magnificent scenery and varied birdlife of the world's biggest wetlands and the Wine Tour combines a luxury train ride with a visit to a fabulous Brazilian vineyard.
Browse our selection of four unforgettable Brazilian rail experiences below.