Rio's Olympic tram breaks down on first day

Mon Jun 6, 2016 6:02pm EDT
 
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A new tram built as part of a drive to improve infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games broke down on Monday, its first full day in operation.

One of the trains on the light rail system, known as the VLT, which connects Rio's Santos Dumont airport to downtown, lost power and came to a halt at around 3 p.m. local time, City Hall said in a statement. Passengers were forced to disembark and continue their journey on foot.

"The service was re-established in nearly 20 minutes, without further interruptions," City Hall said.

The breakdown raises fresh concerns over the quality of Rio's Olympic projects, which have been built on a tight deadline ahead of the August 5 start and during a deep recession.

In April, two people died when a new bike lane, built as part of a wider revitalization linked to the Olympics fell into the ocean.

The VLT covers 28 kilometers (17 miles)in central Rio and has 32 stops. It cost about 1.2 billion reais ($344 million).

(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Dan Grebler)