BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes inaugurated passenger services on the VLT Carioca tramway on June 5. Services on Phase 1a currently operate every 30 min between 12.00 and 15.00, serving eight stops between Santos Dumont and Parada dos Museus.

Passenger-carrying tests started on the central section in November. A total of six lines are planned, with a combined length of 28 km and 32 stops. The network is being built by the VLT Carioca consortium of Companhia de Concessoes Rodoviarias, Odebrecht Transport, Invepar, Riopar, BRT and RATP Dev under a contract awarded in April 2013. RATP Dev will operate the network for 25 years. Around half of the total project cost of R$1·156bn is being financed by the federal government and the remainder through a PPP.

Alstom is supplying a fleet of 32 Citadis trams, the first five of which have been produced in La Rochelle, with the rest coming from Alstom’s Brazilian factory in Taubaté. The seven-section trams run without overhead electrification using a combination of Alstom’s APS ground-level power supply and roof-mounted Citadis Ecopack supercapacitor modules that can store braking energy.