Fun with steam at Grussaí

One of the five Baldwins that pull tourists at SESC-MG

Five completely refurbished steam locomotives animate tourists staying at the Minas Gerais Commerce Social Service (SESC-MG) vacation colony in the beach town of Grussaí, 30 km from Campos, in Rio de Janeiro. All of the engines were built by Baldwin, four of them being 2-8-0 Consolidations and one a 2-4-2T yard maneuvering machine.

They were purchased from sugar mills in the north of Rio de Janeiro, having been abandoned and used for spare parts. The absence of original identification tags makes it different to identify the year they were built, but the sugar mills purchased most from the E.F. Leopoldina, when this line retired its steam engine fleet as of the 1950s. SESC-MG built a workshop especially for restoring the engines.

Homage to the old Minas Gerais state railroads appears on the paint jobs

The wooden cars for the tourists were built from the former sugar cane cars, and the trains take their passengers for a 7-km ride around the 1.8 million square meter leisure complex.

During some days of the week, besides the trip itself, the training stops and one of the six "stations" for and evening of music or dancing. The project is so successful that another 1.5 km of track is being laid and SESC-MG is continuing to look for other engines to purchase and restore. Each locomotive honors one of the old state railroads, such as a E.F. Oeste de Minas and Rede Mineira de Viação.

The covered yard and workshop were built especially for the locomotives

More radical preservationists do not like the paint job because they think it is somewhat exaggerated, mainly the white adopted for the front of some of the locomotives. But this has absolutely no importance for Moacyr Carolino dos Reis and Valter Gomes Coutinho. Thanks to the SESC-MG initiative, they were able to once again exercise their former professions of steam engine engineer and fireman after ten years of working as sugar mill night watchmen to survive.

Valter e Moacyr helped in the reform and recovered the pleasure to work