By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Santa Teresa’s iconic yellow tram – the “bonde” – will be back on the rails in time for the 2014 World Cup, the state government’s Chief Secretary of Staff, Regis Fichtner, announced yesterday. According to Fichtner, a call for tenders to build fourteen new trams has been scheduled for Monday, February 27th, and the bonde should be running again by March 2014. A R$110 million budget has been set for the project.
He also announced plans to extend the tram route to link Carioca Station in Centro to the old Silvestre Station in the Zona Sul (South Zone), following an original tram line which has been abandoned to all intents and purposes since 1966.
From Silvestre, the revival of another disused line will connect the tram to the Corcovado train, which takes visitors up to the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer).
Fichner emphasized that the new system would reduce waiting times and improve passenger safety, saying, “People will not be allowed to travel on the outside of the tram they will travel seated inside safely. This means that there will be no extraordinary weight loaded onto the tram, and it will prevent people from falling out, as had previously been the case,” he said.
The tram has been out of action for six months since it derailed due to suspected poor maintenance, killing six people and injuring more than fifty. The incident occurred just two months after a French tourist fell to his death as the tram passed over the Arches of Lapa and a safety barrier gave way.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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