Heritage Railway: in search of their central places
Abstract The railway heritage is formed by complex structures and socio-spatial interactions – built as a network - linked to the history of scientific and technological development and to social memory. Thus, these structures carry evaluative attributes, bearers of heritage’s interest. However, it is not possible to preserve everything, it is necessary to make a careful selection guided by relevant arguments. This article proposes a theoretical arrangement - inspired by the systemic approach, associated with concepts of network, nodality and centrality - able to provide analytical foundations essential to identify, in a railway network, the spatial structures and their relations, characterized as central places. Such structures, for being the most important to the functional dynamics of this network, they hold potential to preservation. It is a proposal, instigated by the imminent loss of railway structures, representative symbols of collective identities. The discussion focuses on the primitive railway system deployed in Recife, as part of the Northeast Railway Network in Brazil. This system polarized essential functions, conforming centralities in relation to the remaining network yards, and nodalities, compared to the established interrelationships with other networks that cover the territory. Therefore, they are Central Places.