• Peter Lauffer

Museum Railways in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Updated: May 15

Minas Gerais is one of the most prosperous states in Brazil. The discovery of gold deposits in the region from 1693 onward, attracted European pioneers, thirsty for adventure and wealth. At the beginning of the gold period, convoys of mules transported the gold to the Atlantic coast to be shipped to Europe. However, at the dawn of the 20th century, these convoys gave way to the railways.

Town Center of Ouro Preto

Gold-mining brought a lot of wealth to the region, which is reflected in fantastic, baroque style colonial cities spread all over the State of Minas Gerais. Ouro Preto, Mariana, Tiradentes, and Sao Joao del Rei are some of these baroque style cities which are especially interesting also from a railway point of view.

Steam trains are affectionately known in Brazil as "Marias Fumaça," Smoking Marys in English.

Maria Fumaca from Sao Joao del Rei to Tiradentes

Embark aboard the Maria Fumaça from Sao Joao del Rei to Tiradentes. This railroad has the nickname "Bitolinha," which means the small narrow track. The gauge of this railroad is only 76 centimeters. A Baldwin steam locomotive pulls the historic train on weekends and public holidays on the 13 km railroad between São João del Rey and Tiradentes. This train journey takes about 40 minutes in either direction.

🚂 Travel Tip: Watch the manually operated turntable in Tiradentes, when the Steam Locomotive changes direction before it returns to Sao Joao del Rei. Sao Joao del Rei has a fascinating Railway Museum next to the railway station.

Timetable Museum Train Sao Joao del Rei - Tiradentes

Friday + Saturday

Sao Joao del Rei dep: 10:00

Tiradentes arr: 10:45

Tiradentes dep: 13:00

Sao Joao del Rei dep: 13:45

Sao Joao del Rei dep: 15:00

Tiradentes arr: 15:45

Tiradentes dep: 17:00

Sao Joao del Rei arr: 17:45


Sao Joao del Rei dep: 10:00

Tiradentes arr: 10:45

Tiradentes dep: 11:00

Sao Joao del Rei dep: 11:45

Sao Joao del Rei dep: 13:00

Tiradentes arr: 13:45

Tiradentes dep: 14:00

Sao Joao del Rei arr: 14:45

Opening Hours Railway Museum Sao Joao del Rei:

Wednesday - Saturday: 09:00 - 11:00 and 13:00 - 17:00

Sunday: 09:00 - 13:00

Ouro Preto - Mariana Railway

Discover picturesque scenery between Ouro Preto and Mariana during this exciting train journey. The railroad between the two colonial baroque cities of Ouro Preto and Mariana was built in 1883 and since 2006 runs a tourist train on this 17 km railroad. The tourist train is operated by VALE, a large mining and logistics company in Brazil. The train runs on weekends and, depending on the season, on some weekdays.

🚂 Travel Tips:

I recommend booking the train journey as part of an organized tour from Ouro Preto. The baroque city of Mariana is best visited with a local guide. On the way back, organize a stop at the gold mine "Passagem de Mariana." The Passagem Mine is a fascinating site to visit, especially the trip on the funicular to enter the Mine.

Time Table Ouro Preto - Mariana

Ouro Preto dep: 10:00

Mariana arr: 10:45

Mariana dep: 13:00

Ouro Preto arr: 13:45

Ouro Preto dep : 14:30

Mariana arr: 15:15

Mariana dep: 16:00

Ouro Preto arr: 16:45

Both train journeys are part of our tour, "Grand Train Tour of Brazil." If you like to travel in a small group and like making other train journeys in Brazil, join us on this journey in November 2020.