Look at any map of the region and you’ll see a thin black line tracing the path of a long railroad that connects São Paulo on the Atlantic with Campo Grande, where it forks to Corumbá on the Bolivian border, and to Ponta Porã on the Paraguayan frontier. Unfortunately, the privatization of the Brazilian railways has led to the closure of all passenger lines west of Bauru, perhaps forever. This is a real shame, not least because the Corumbá line formed part of an even longer rail system, connecting with the Bolivian Tren de los Mortes to Santa Cruz, from where it’s still possible to continue by train into Chile or via La Paz into Peru, over Lake Titicaca (by boat or around it on a bus) and on to Cuzco. There seems little chance in the immediate future of the lines being reopened (though freight trains are still running), but with ever-increasing tourist interest in the Pantanal and Mato Grosso do Sul, we can only hope that services may in the course of time resume.

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