By Dan Loosemore: With just under a year to go until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and Paralympic Games opens, the first train for the city’s new Light Rail network has arrived for testing, as part of Brazil’s investment in public infrastructure ahead of the XXXI Olympiad. With over 480,000 tourists predicted to descend on Rio for the Games next summer, the Light Rail will carry approximately 285,000 sports fans 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. The first of 32 Citadis trams, built by Alstom arrived in Rio from its rail rolling stock plant in La Rochelle, France, although 27 of them will be built in a new facility in Sao Paulo in Brazil.
The integrated tramway system supplied by Alstom to Rio includes 32 44-metre-long Citadis trams along with power supply, signalling and telecommunication systems. The tramway line will be 100% catenary-free combining APS – which supplies power via a third rail positioned centrally between the running lines – and supercapacitors – modules installed on the roof of the tram which store energy and regenerate it during braking. Rio’s new rail network which is 28 kilometres long and includes 32 stations, will be partially opened in mid-2016 in time for the Olympic Games.
Alstom will masters every stage of the tramway system, from design to complete validation and commissioning in its urban environment, and is a leader in the maintenance of the complete system. Alstom is currently managing the construction of 8 tramway systems including Cuenca (Ecuador), Rio (Brazil), Sydney (Australia), Nottingham (UK), Lusail (Qatar) and further projects in Algeria. “Alstom is pleased to hand over the first Citadis tram to Rio de Janeiro, the first city in Brazil to be equipped with a full tramway system that will be connected to buses, metros and trains, and which enhances intermodality while reducing congestion and pollution,” declared Michel Boccaccio, Senior Vice President for Alstom Transport in Latin America.
The estimated cost of the VLT’s six lines is R$1.157 billion, and will open to locals in two stages. There are currently ongoing discussions to roll out Rio’s Light Rail to other cities in the country including Brasilia, Cuiaba and Curitiba.
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