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Last update: 23/02/2017
In Brazil, most passenger trains have been eradicated. However, at the end of the 20th century, a different tourism program was offered to the population: the so-called Trem do Forró or Forró Train.
What is it?
During the St John period, some diesel-powered trains at the Central Station were specially chartered to run the Recife-Caruaru route. Participants boarded the train very early and only returned at night. The wagons, decorated with June motifs and with musical ensembles composed of an accordion, a bass drum and a triangle, were in charge of entertaining the passengers. Improvised square dancing with a lot of forró represented a real ranch on the tracks. When the train stopped at the stations, people were greeted by those present.
Arriving at the Caruaru Railway Station, the tourists had a real party: fireworks, the presentation of the king and queen of forró, square dancing, blunderbussers, fife bands and others. Afterwards, the passengers were taken to the Luiz Gonzaga Event Courtyard, another venue where presentations continued.
However from 2001, due to the poor conditions of the Recife-Caruaru line which was unsafe for passengers, the Forró Train changed its route: it started to depart from Marco Zero, in the neighbourhood of Recife, and then only ran the Recife to Cabo de Santo Agostinho stretch of track. Arriving there, the passengers went to the Events Square, next to the train station, where the party was always very lively. Upon returning to Marco Zero, everyone could watch forró shows and fife bands, and enjoy the dancers dressed in hillbilly suits.
Today there is a whole infrastructure set up to cater for the Forró Train passengers: each car has its own musicians, bar service and security; there is a specific wagon with restrooms and a medical department; and two cars follow the train over its course.
It is worth pointing out that there is also a Forró Train in Paraíba. This leaves the Old Station in Campina Grande, and goes to the district of Galante with the sound of traditional forró bands in a trip that lasts an hour and a half.
To welcome the passengers at the final destination is a party with square dancing and a public market with traditional June festival food stalls. Besides these, people can taste some other delicacies of Northeast cuisine, such as buchada or picado de bode and the arrumadinho de feijão verde. Also offered are rides in donkey carts. Upon returning to Campina Grande, those who wish can go to the People’s Park – the main St John festival area in Paraíba – to continue the excitement.
Recife, 25 May 2004
Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2016.
TREM do forró. Disponível em: <http://www.anpf.com.br/turismo_ferroviario> Acesso em: 11 maio 2004.
TREM do forró é uma opção recomendada. Disponível em: <http://www.pmcg.pb.gov.br/saojoao/trem.htm>. Acesso em: 12 maio 2004.
TREM do forró entra nos trilhos para o São João 2004. Disponível em: <http://www.tremdoforro.com.br/001.htm> Acesso em: 12 de maio 2004.
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Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Trem do Forró. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.