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Sometimes I can not understand certain things that happen in this country. We walk against history. Possibly, we are the only country in the world - among those with continental dimensions - to have privileged, over time, the transportation of passengers and freight by rail instead of rail.
One of the most terrible consequences of this option is the very high death toll on our highways. Our traffic kills more than many wars. In two years of armed conflict in Syria around 70,000 people had died, while in Brazil about 50,000 people die each year from traffic accidents, totaling in about two years about 100,000 deaths.
On the other hand, it is no less sad to see how the government of that country treats an important part of its historical patrimony.
During the years 2009 and 2010 I toured extensions of the former Cia Mogiana de Estradas de Ferro. She was one of the great leaders, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, for the development of some of the richest regions of that country. Like the northeast of São Paulo and the Minas Gerais triangle. Where I passed, with rare exceptions, I found abandon and neglect. I have seen this rich historical heritage in ruins. But beyond the buildings, which at the height of the railroad should be eye-popping, like the Jaguara station, for example - built on the banks of Rio Grande on the Minas Gerais side, it had two floors. Much of the material for its construction came from Europe. The tiles, for example, came from France - there is the human side.
During my labors, I met people whose eyes glittered when they spoke of the railway. Like Mr. Jorge, for example. That, despite her ninety years, she had an enviable memory. When I met him he was riding on a horse, pulling cattle, somewhere lost between Guaranésia and Monte Santo de Minas, in southwest Minas Gerais.
Some time ago, I knew I was dead. Thank God, I found it in time to record your story. He was born and raised near the station of Itiguaçu (MG). As far as I know, he died there too. Next to the ruins of the old station. But it is no exaggeration to say, that part of him had already died long ago. There in the late seventies, when the trains stopped circulating in that locality.
Another one that was gone was Mr. Alceu. He arrived at Vila de Jaguara (MG) shortly after the trains stopped moving. As he lived in a house next to the station, he became a kind of guardian of the place. He protected her against the action of vandals. There was a lot of story to tell. He would always smile when it came to the trains. I visited him several times, but he never let himself be photographed. Unfortunately, I do not have a single picture of him. He died, if I am not mistaken now, at the end of 2010, of a cancer that killed him relentlessly.
I dedicate this essay to the memory of Jorge and Alceu. To all the former railwaymen. And also to those people who share a passion for the railroad.