A true architectural treasure, Valongo was the first station in São Paulo State to hear a train whistle. The station was designed in England and inaugurated in 1867 by the São Paulo Railway, with neo-classical lines inspired by London’s Victoria station, and it is the only building in Santos prepared for snow (!).
The building was constructed on the initiative of Irineu Evangelista de Souza, Baron Mauá, to serve the São Paulo-Santos line, one of first in Brazil. This railway line is considered one of the greatest railway engineering works in the world because of the steep nature of the Serra do Mar Range and the eight-kilometer route, which resembles a slow-motion roller coaster.
Valongo station is also the boarding and alighting point for the Tourist Streetcar Ride, which has seven electric vehicles, among them the Coffee Streetcar, Pelé Streetcar and Art Streetcar. The ticket office is inside the Pelé Museum, opposite the station, and the streetcars operate from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm. The line boasts the first female employees in the country working as conductors and drivers.
The Estação Bistrô, which operates on the ground floor of the station, is the first restaurant-school on the São Paulo coast. The floor, which is original, made from two types of cement tiles, was discovered in 2003, during the restoration works on the building. Open to the public on 5 June, 2012, the restaurant-school focuses on training young people in vulnerable social conditions in the area of Food and Drink. Created thanks to a partnership between City Hall, the Ministry of Tourism and UniSantos (Catholic University of Santos), the restaurant opens from Tuesday to Saturday, 12noon to 3pm.
The Valongo station building is basically the original. In 1867, it already stood out from the other railway constructions along the line implanted in the state, characterized by small one-story stations, with gabled roof, located along the tracks. Renovated in 1995, the station building gained its second floor, attics, towers and some iron elements.
The elevated central body has a clock tower, symbolizing, in addition to the British punctuality of arrivals and departures, the capitalist era – ‘time is money’. The four lions in the corners represent the power of the British Empire. Framing the central area are two side structures, in the same style, with sloping roofs, similar to those adopted in Europe that allow snow to slide off.