The Minas and Rio Railway, also known as the Rio Verde Railway, was opened for traffic on July 14th, 1884, in the presence of Emperor Pedro II (1825–91), his daughter Princess Isabel, and her husband, Prince Gastão de Orléans, conde d’Eu. The British-owned and constructed line ran from Cruzeiro in the interior of the state of São Paulo, across the Mantiqueira Mountains, and through cities and towns in the southern part of the state of Minas Gerais as far as Três Corações do Rio Verde. The line was only 144 kilometers long, but it played an important role in opening up the coffee-growing regions of southern Brazil and thereby contributing to the growth of the coffee economy. After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1889 the railroad faced financial difficulties, and in 1901 it was taken over by the federal government. Today the railroad is part of the main Brazilian rail company, Rede Ferroviária Federal S.A. and is used for cargo transport and by touristic steam trains from Soledade to São Lourenço in Minas Gerais. Marc Ferrez (1843–1923), a Brazilian artist of French heritage who documented the development of Brazil as a nation, photographed the Minas and Rio Railway in the early 1880s. Shown here is one of 37 photographs by Ferrez contained in an album that is part of the Thereza Christina Maria collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.