RIO DE JANEIRO — Authorities in Rio de Janeiro have inaugurated the first part of a light city railway designed to ferry about hundreds of thousands of visitors and sports players arriving in the Brazilian city for the Olympic games due to start in August.
The new VLT network, a multinational project involving firms like France's Alstom and Argentina's Benito Roggio, will connect major tourist attractions including the beaches at Copacabana, the airport and the main train station.
Working around the clock, the light rail is expected to carry up to 190,000 people a day and hopes to add another 200,000 passengers by 2036. The project was conceived in 2010 when the city began thinking of ways to boost public transport, reduce pollution and cut personal car use. City officials wanted an option that was comfortable, quiet, punctual and environment-friendly.
The railway's first line operated without passengers last May in order to gradually integrate it with traffic. Roggio, which has 15 engineers involved in the project, told Clarín that the trains use the latest fuel technology. The rail has replaced all masts and overhead cables with a system of batteries fed through the ground at various points on the tracks.
The finished system will have six lines — yellow, blue, red, green, lilac and orange — and will serve 42 stations.