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Recife Central Station

Later, Central Station was used to serve the Central Railway of Pernambuco, which was inaugurated in 1888.

Recife Central Station

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 04/01/2017

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - N/I

In the mid-19th century (1850-1856) the terminal of the Northeast Railway Network was built, and it was called Estação Central [Central Station]. This construction is on the left bank of the Capibaribe River and in front of the current House of Culture on Floriano Peixoto Street, in the São José district of Recife.

Later, Central Station was used to serve the Central Railway of Pernambuco, which was inaugurated in 1888.

On the façade of the building, two turrets can be seen, and above them are four bronze eagles with open wings. In the middle of the façade is a clock with an artistic frame. At the entrance, four metal crowns can be seen, on which are engraved some symbols and the following names: Viollet-le-Duc / W. Young / F. Schimidt / Polonceau.

Central Station was rented by the Great Western of Brazil Railway Company, which ran from Alagoas to Rio Grande do Norte. It is worth pointing out that Great Western operated the Brazilian railroads from the beginning of the 19th century.

Departing from Central Station, people could reach various places in Northeast Brazil: the semi-arid region of Cariri, Ceará; Campina Grande, Paraíba; the caatingas of Pajeú, Pernambuco; or the banks of the São Francisco River, Alagoas.

On the noise of the trains of the time, running on the rails in his hometown Palmares, the famous Ascenso Ferreira would write the well-known poem:

(...) Mangabas maduras, [Ripe mangabas]
mamões amarelos, [yellow papayas]
mamões amarelos [yellow papayas]
que amostram, molengos, [that softly show]
as mamas macias [soft breasts]
pra gente mamar... [for us to suckle]

Vou danado pra Catende, [I’ll race for Catende]
vou danado pra Catende, [I’ll race for Catende]
vou danado pra Catende [I’ll race for Catende]
com vontade de chegar(...) [desperate to get there]

Over time, the trains became obsolete and their network could no longer meet the demand of the population. This was the beginning of the implementation of the Recife subway – METROREC – whose first stretch was inaugurated in 1985, when the old station would then become the gateway to this modern transportation system.

As well as this, today Central Station houses the headquarters of the Train Museum, created in 1972 and patronised by sociologist Gilberto Freyre.

Recife, 24 May 2004.
(Updated on 25 March 2008).
Translated by Peter Leamy, October 2016.

sources consulted

AGORA vá de metrô. Recife: METROREC; CBTU/EBTU/RFFSA, [1985].

FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife: estátuas e bustos, igrejas e prédios, lápides, placas e inscrições históricas do Recife. Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.

METRÔ do Recife: solução social. Recife: METROREC, 1985.

ROCHA, Tadeu. Roteiros do Recife (Olinda e Guararapes). 3. ed. Recife: Gráfica Ipanema, 1967.


how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Estação Central (Recife, PE). Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em:dia  mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.