The Brazilian bullet train project

On July 13th 2010 Brazilian Federal Government launched bidding documents regarding the concession regime and procedures for implementation and operation of the High-Speed Rail (TAV – Trem de Alta Velocidade) that will connect the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Campinas. The project, the most ambitious infrastructure project under the country’s Program to Accelerate Growth (PAC – Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento), specifies that the construction, operation, and maintenance will be granted to the consortium that provides the lowest fare for service.

The concession contract establishes the limit of six years to complete the entire stretch Campinas – São Paulo Rio de Janeiro. The final schedule calls for the railway to be completed by 2017, although the Brazilian Federal Government anticipates the line will be partially open before the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

TAV is worth US 20 billion. The Brazilian Federal Government will invest, through a new state-run entity, US$ 1.5 billion in the project and extend loans worth 60% of the total cost by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES – Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social).

Potential customers in the parcels market can be classified into two main groups:

– existing logistics companies, interested in moving consolidated loads, using rail as part of the chain – principal players in this field are the Brazilian National Post Office (Correios – Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos) and Courier Companies; and

– end users, such as businesses, or individuals.

The construction of TAV will create a very large site, which will directly require numerous professional skills and directly or indirectly generate employment upline and downline The commissioning of the railway and, in particular, the development of land traffic and associated commercial zones served by the railway will create jobs in a progressive manner during the first 10 years’ of operation.

It is estimated that the railway will generate around 30,000 jobs throughout the area affected within about 10 years after commissioning. In addition a further 30,000 jobs could be generated by around 2050 in response to more fundamental shifts in the regional economy.

The choice of consortia contractor by the end of 2010

The Brazilian Federal Government will pick the contractor for the TAV in December 2010. Competitors must submit their proposals before November 29 and the winner will be announced on December 16 at the headquarters of Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA – Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo). Term of the concession is 40 years.

The line will be built and run on a concession basis and the government will rank bids based on the lowest fare, with a maximum permitted price of US$ 0.28 per kilometre. That would translate into economy class ticket fares up to US$ 115.00 for the 430 kilometres (270 miles) stretch between Rio and Sao Paulo.

International interest

The bidding is open to both Brazilian and foreign firms. News report that several countries and international companies have expressed interest in participating of the project:

– Austria;

– China (China Railway Materials);

– France (Alstom);

– Germany (Siemens);

– Italy (Ansaldobreda);

– Japan (Hitachi, Kawasaki, Mitsui & Co, Mitsubishi and Toshiba);

– Spain;

– South Korea (Hyundai and Samsung); and

– United Kingdom.

A new company called ETAV

Federal Government also proposed the creation of the Company of High Speed Rail (ETAV – Empresa de Transporte Ferroviário de Alta Velocidade), With the objective of planning and promoting the development of other high-speed rail lines in the country.

ETAV will be linked to the National Agency of Terrestrial Transports (ANTT – Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres) and will be also responsible for managing the technology used by the contractor that wins the High Speed Rail bidding process, in addition to monitoring the project’s deadlines.

Speed, locations and planned route

TAV proposal calls for trains to run at speeds of up to 350 kph (217 mph) and the trip between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is expected to last 93 minutes. Seven mandatory stations are be built on the line:

– City of Rio de Janeiro downtown area;

– Rio de Janeiro International Airport;

– City of Aparecida, State of São Paulo;

– São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport;

– City of São Paulo downtown area;

– Campinas/Viracopos International Airport; and

– City of Campinas downtown area.

The planned route will include 90.9 km tunnels and 103 km bridges and viaducts. An extension to Campinas, 70 kilometres from Sao Paulo was planned with the purpose of reaching the heartland of Brazil’s richest manufacturing and farming state.

The planned route is as follows:

Brazil TAV Planned Route



  1. It’s great to hear about China has a great interest to bid for high speed rail in Brazil.Now we have many high speed rails under operation, it indeed makes people travel easier, but ticket price is not cheap though. Best wish to Brazil high speed rail.

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