EFC is Recognized as the Safest Railroad in Brazil

About Vale

3/2/2020

EFC is Recognized as the Safest Railroad in Brazil

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imagem aérea do trem de passageiros da EFC

Carajás Railroad (EFC) has been elected the safest railroad in the country for the second consecutive year by the National Agency of Land Transport (ANTT, Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres). The benchmark study was published in early February and was based on annual accident rates of all railroads in Brazil. ANTT is the federal agency in charge of concession, inspection, and regulation of all Brazilian railroads. In addition to iron ore and cargo, such as fuel and soybeans, EFC – which is operated by Vale – transports more than 320,000 passengers between the states of Pará and Maranhão each year.


EFC has seen improvements in its safety indicator year-over-year. According to ANTT’s evaluation, EFC scored 2.67 in 2017, then 1.81 in 2018, and now has reached 1.73 – the lowest in 13 years. For ANTT, the lower the rate, the safer the railroad is. Both data and benchmark study are available on the agency's website.   This is the result of continuous investment in technology, preventive maintenance, fleet quality, and dialogue with the commun​ities that cross the railroad, encouraging them to use official passageways, such as overpasses and footbridges. “It is important to highlight that this level of safety directly benefits those using the EFC passenger train,” stated João Falcão, executive manager of Carajás railroad.

Passenger Train

Over the last two years, the number of people traveling on the passenger train of Carajás railroad grew from 285,000 passengers a year in 2017 to almost 330,000 in 2019. According to the last survey conducted with users, safety and price were the main reasons for choosing the trip. The train ticket fare is on average 45% lower than bus fare. In some cases, the difference is even greater – while a bus ticket between São Luís and Açailândia can cost up to R$198, by train it will cost you R$54.00.

Artificial Intelligence and other Technologies Applied to the Railroad

imagem de vagão de trem

Vale already applies Artificial Intelligence to manage the maintenance of EFC’s fleet of locomotives, railroad cars, and railroad tracks. The maintenance process begins while trains are still moving, through monitoring sensors installed next to the road – known as waysides – and vehicles inspecting the road.

Considering parameters – such as temperature, noise, dimensional inspection via laser, ultrasound, and video-image –, the monitoring systems indicate the exact condition of each locomotive, railroad car and rail, identify those that require maintenance or replacement, etc. Millions of data are collected and sent to a center in São Luís that uses the information to develop meticulous maintenance plans to increase fleet safety.

Another key advantage is the high-tech equipment used for maintenance, including automated tables that change the wheelset of a railroad car in 15 minutes or so. The workshop complex installed in São Luís (Maranhão) uses robots to handle components, and it is considered one of the most sophisticated complexes in Latin America.

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Learn More about Carajás Railroad

  • Built in the 1980s, EFC was inaugurated with an initial capacity of 30 million metric tons per year (Mtpa).
  • It is 970 kilometers long, with 575 km of duplicate road, crossing 27 cities between the states of Pará and Maranhão.
  • The structure comprises 330 railroad cars, each carrying almost 104 metric tons.
  • It transports passengers, iron ore, soybeans, and most of the fuel that supplies the southwest of Maranhão and southeastern Pará.
  • In 2019, almost 320,000 people traveled on the passenger train.
  • Its fleet consists of 300 locomotives and approximately 20,000 railroad cars. A train with 330 railroad cards might require up to 18,000 horsepower to be moved.

EFC is Recognized as the Safest Railroad in Brazil