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Ferrovia Transnordestina

The Transnordestina was planned due to the importance of railway transport for the sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

Ferrovia Transnordestina

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 04/05/2017

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

In 1997, the Brazilian railway system was in poor condition and in need of investment, and because of that the privatization process was started, by the Federal Government.

On 1st January 1998, the Companhia Ferroviária do Nordeste S/A (CFN) was created, which, from 2008 on, was called Transnordestina Logística S/A. It is a private company from the CSN Group (Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional) which has the mission of exploring and developing cargo transport in the region – with 4.238 km of railway network going from Maranhão to the municipality of Propriá, in Sergipe – and it started managing the Northeastern railways purchased from RFFSA (Rede Ferroviária Federal S/A), a state company which was until then the manager of the railway system in Brazil. RFFSA had 12 Regional Local Administrations (SR), and the SR 1, is responsible for the railways in the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte; the SR 11 for Ceará and SR 12, for those in Piauí and Maranhão.

In 1999, based on a project from the Transport Ministry, the CFN planned to build a railway, with 523 km, called Transnordestina, to be implemented in three stages: 231km connecting the cities of Petrolina and Salgueiro, in Pernambuco; 113 km until Missão Velha, and from there 179 km until Cratéus, both in the state of Ceará. In 2002, studies started for implementing a new design.

The Transnordestina was planned due to the importance of railway transport for the sustainable economic, social and environmental development. The railway may allow, still, the integration with the waterway system of the São Francisco River, the sertão highway system and the railway system which already exists, contributing to making the cargo transport more effective, making the economic activity more dynamic in the areas nearby, through the increase in job and income generation.

It started being implemented in the year 2006, with the stretch of Missão Velha, in Piauí, to Salgueiro, in the sertão of Pernambuco. In 2007, basic studies were conducted and executive projects were contracted for the other stretches.

With an estimated cost of R$ 5.42 million, a billion reals more than what was predicted in the initial budget, the undertaking will use millions of crossties (cement beam that supports the rail); more than a million cubic meters of concrete; ninety million cubic meters of excavations; the hiring of thousands of workers; the mobilization of more than 1,700 pieces of heavy duty machinery, besides building bridges, overpasses and draining systems, becoming the greatest undertaking of its kind ever executed in Brazil.

Included among the three largest private undertakings in the country – next to the Santo Antônio and Jirau Power Plants, in the Madeira River, in Roraima – the Transnordestina, after its conclusion (predicted for 2013), will be 1,728 km long and it will connect two Port terminals, of Pecém, in Ceará, and of Suape, in Pernambuco, to the sertão of Piauí, making the transport of approximately 25 million tons/year of grains, mine and gypsum, and a series of other products, with the objective of increasing the competitiveness of the agricultural and mineral production in the region, besides seeking the continuous and fast integration of the Northeast productive structure with the other regions of the Country.



Recife, 23 September 2011.
Uptadated on 04 may 2017.

sources consulted

COMPANHIA FERROVIÁRIA DO NORDESTE S/A. Apresentação Transnordestina. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 20 set. 2011.

FERROVIA Transnordestina. [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em : 27 abr. 2017.

FERROVIA Transnordestina (com mapa). Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 20 set. 2011.

FERROVIA Transnordestina em 2010. [Mapa neste texto]. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 11 set. 2011.

NÍTOLO, Miguel. Ainda fora dos trilhos. Problemas Brasileiros, São Paulo, n. 331, p. 4-11, jan./fev. 1999.

OBRA Transnordestina. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 22 set. 2011.

R$ 1 bi mais cara, Transnordestina, enfim, avança. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 22 set. 2011.

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Ferrovia Transnordestina. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Available at: <>. Access on: day month year. Ex: 6 Aug. 2009