17 - Train

“Outside the moonlight continues / And the train divides Brazil / Like a meridian.” In the 1920s, Oswald  de  Andrade  (1890-1954)  composed  these  lines  for  the  poem Noturno,  in  which  he alludes to the most important means of transport at the time. Since the second half of the 19thcentury, the railroads have been fundamental in the flow of production from farms in the inland to the ports of coastal capitals, allowing geographic penetration and the displacement of people across  the  vastness  of  the  national territory.  Rendezvous  and flowing  spots,  the  train stations also make possible the emergence of population centers and countless inland cities.This powerful invention, the result of the Industrial Revolution and a landmark of British imperial power, is still decisive for the “conquest of Brazil by football”, according to the expression of the geographer Gilmar Mascarenhas. In addition to spreading railroads, the British disseminated the practice of football in schools and enabled the creation of sports clubs in cities in the inland of the state. If for Oswald the “train divides”, it can also be said that it unites, building urban and club identities around the game.From this expansion through the countryside and with the participation of workers who worked on the construction of the railroads, a myriad of clubs emerged in São Paulo, such as Paulista, in Jundiaí, and Ferroviária, in Araraquara. They are thus structured around the development of this means  of  transport: Bragantino,  Botafogo  de  Ribeirão  Preto,  Ituano,  Marília,  Mogi  Mirim, Noroeste, Ponte Preta, Rio Claro, São Bento and XV de Piracicaba. And there are countless club associations throughout Brazil that allude to the imagination of locomotives in their names. Even in São Paulo, with its iconic Estação da Luz, the English origins of the railroad teams are present, such as the Associação Atlética União da Lapa, a team from the working-class neighborhood of thesame  name,  with  a  significant  presence  of  workers  from  the  English  company  São  Paulo Railway.  It  even  had  a  homonymous  team,  founded  by  its  employees,  the  São  Paulo  Railway Athletic  Club.  Among  São  Paulo  residents,  the  most  traditional,  since  it  is  still active,  is  the Nacional Atlético Clube.