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Rio de Janeiro RECOMMENDATIONS See all

High-Speed Railway to Connect Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Campinas

By Paige, Nicaragua, June 2011

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Soon, you will be able to sit back with your laptop and enjoy Brazil’s first sleek, gleaming, high-velocity train, as it leaves Rio de Janeiro for the 80-minute, 280kph (175mph) journey to São Paulo. The trip to South America’s most important city now takes at least six hours by car or bus; heck, the train may even beat air connections, once you consider check-in time. Enjoying the ride? Continue aboard another 35 minutes to visit Campinas, a fine city just off the average tourist’s radar.

When will the train become such tempting travel option? That’s a good question. The project was originally slated to begin construction in 2010, ready to roll in time for the 2014 World Cup games. After the construction of São Paulo’s Novo Estádio do Corinthians was canceled, however, the government began thinking in terms of 2016 Olympics instead.

Final bidding for the 511-kilometer (318-mile) project has been postponed until June. Apparently, the most likely company to get the bid South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries, although mystery competitors waiting in the wings may be responsible for the delays. Either way, the Brazilian government is eager to get started as soon as possible, and just voted to partially finance the railway, to the tune of R$20 billion (US$12.8 billion). The total cost is expected to be R$33 billion (US$21 billion).

With its growing economy—the largest in Latin America, and seventh largest in the world—Brazil is taking on a staggering number of public projects. Which means you’ll probably visit before the the high-velocity train gets in gear. Buses (6 hours; R$70–120, US$51–US$77) leave every few minutes throughout the day; note that all direct buses run well inland. If you want to watch the beach go by, you’ll need to change buses in São Sebastião. Flights between the cities start at around R$250 (US$150) and last a little less than an hour.

Photo courtesy of TAV Brasil

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