The first train for Rio’s new Light Rail system has just arrived in Rio for testing, as part of Brazil’s investment in public infrastructure ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
With over 480,000 tourists predicted to descend on Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic & Paralympic Games next summer, the Light Rail will carry approximately 285,000 tourists every day, easing the pressure on the city’s other transport systems.
The stops will connect with major bus, train, ferry and metro lines, as well as a central vein running straight from Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport into the heart of the city.
Due for completion in April 2016, the system will also connect Rio’s downtown district and Port Zone, home to the city’s most popular bars, clubs and museum, with six transport lines and 42 stops.
The Light Rail’s futuristic design means that the electricity will be drawn from the tracks via underground stores, rather than overhead cables or wires.
The only other country in the world to have such a system is Dubai.
The estimated cost of the VLT’s six lines is R$1.157 billion, and will open to locals in two stages.
The first stage between Rodoviaria Novo Rio bus station and Santos Dumont airport will pass through Praça Mauá square, famed for its iconic Brazilian architecture, while the second stage will connect the central train station, passing the historic Avenida Marechal Floriano and Largo da Carioca, the social and cultural epicentre of the city.
There are currently ongoing discussions to roll out Rio’s Light Rail to other cities in the country including Brasilia, Cuiaba and Curitiba.