The abandoned trains of a former British railroad station in Brazil

Spread the love

Nestled a few miles outside Sao Paulo, Paranapiacaba captivates visitors with its quaint charm and intriguing history. This picturesque village, established in the mid-19th century by the British-owned São Paulo Railway Company, served as the operational headquarters for the British railway endeavor. Designed by Jeremy Bentham in a unique prison model style, Paranapiacaba thrived for three decades as the hub for exporting coffee beans from the region through the Santos port. While the advent of automated machines and the decommissioning of the last steam train in 1982 led to a decline in population, the village’s abandoned buildings have been meticulously preserved, thanks to Brazil’s government’s declaration of it as a historic district. Today, Paranapiacaba beckons curious travelers, offering an opportunity to reflect on the past and investigate the captivating remnants of its old railway station.


Diego Torres Silvestre/


Diego Torres Silvestre/


Ana Paula Hirama/Wikimedia Commons


Diego Torres Silvestre/


Plinio Gimenez/



Paranapiacaba, initially established by the British, boasts a rich heritage deeply intertwined with the São Paulo Railway Company’s history. Designed by Jeremy Bentham, an influential architect of the time, the village’s architectural layout followed the innovative prison model style, characterized by organized structures and efficient space utilization. As the operational headquarters for the British railway endeavor, Paranapiacaba played a pivotal role in facilitating the export of coffee beans from the region to the Santos port.

The British railway engineers faced a formidable challenge when confronted with the hilly terrain surrounding Paranapiacaba. Undeterred, they devised a unique solution—the zig-zag railway line. This ingenious engineering marvel allowed trains to traverse the challenging topography efficiently, ensuring a smooth transportation process for the coffee beans destined for export. Paranapiacaba experienced a period of prosperity during this era, becoming home to approximately 4,000 workers, predominantly British citizens, who contributed to the village’s growth and vitality.


Caio Schiavo/


Diego Torres Silvestre/


Diego Torres Silvestre/


Paulocarmona/Wikimedia Commons


Plinio Gimenez/





With the advent of automated machinery, the funicular, which had played a crucial role in transporting goods, was rendered obsolete. Replacing the steam-powered system led to a decline in Paranapiacaba’s population and triggered the abandonment of numerous buildings. The once-bustling village gradually succumbed to a quieter existence, witnessing a significant decrease in inhabitants over time.

Although Paranapiacaba’s population has dwindled to approximately 1,000 residents, the village’s historic buildings have been meticulously preserved and serve as a testament to its glorious past. Recognizing the importance of conserving this unique heritage, the Brazilian government declared Paranapiacaba a historic district. This designation has protected abandoned buildings and encouraged tourism in the area.










Plinio Gimenez/



Visitors to Paranapiacaba have a captivating journey through time as they wander the streets lined with abandoned buildings. The well-preserved structures whisper tales of the village’s bygone era, offering a glimpse into the workers’ lives who toiled tirelessly for the British railway company. One of the attractions of Paranapiacaba is the opportunity to explore the remnants of the old railway station, including the abandoned trains that once traversed the zig-zag railway line. These silent witnesses of the past transport visitors to a different time, evoking a sense of nostalgia and wonder.












Roberto Borella/

Paranapiacaba stands as a testament to Brazil’s British legacy and is a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. With its well-preserved abandoned buildings and the remnants of the old railway station, the village offers a unique glimpse into its prosperous past and the ingenuity of the British railway engineers. As Paranapiacaba beckons visitors to explore its historic district, it continues to enchant all who venture there, ensuring that the memories of this remarkable chapter in Brazil’s history remain alive for generations.


NOTE :We do not own any of the images here and all images are copyrighted to their original owners. Please contact us if you wish to remove anything

Related Article

Inside a Philippines-based “Disneyland” that has since closed

Explore the Fascinating History of Western Village: A Unique American West-Themed Amusement Park in Japan

This Forgotten Alabama Mansion Appearances Like It’s Stuck in Time


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *